We can't all be astronauts, and not every CEO can be Steve Jobs. The auto industry is just like any other: it's had a few excellent and truly notable leaders, and some who just genuinely sucked at their jobs.
That's our question of the day: Who is the worst automotive executive ever?
There's a lot to choose from, but General Motors' Roger Smith has to rank among the most disappointing for a lot of reasons. CNN Money sums it up well:
When Smith took over, GM's U.S. market share was 46%. It was 35% when he left. In the process, he wasted billions trying to revive the sagging giant through diversification (EDS and Hughes), automation (robotized factories), reorganization (two superdivisions B-O-C and C-P-C), commonization (GM-10 cars) and experimentation (Saturn). Smith's legacy was a fleet of low-quality, lookalike autos, an unqualified successor, and a mountain of debt that pushed the company close to bankruptcy in 1992.
Good job, good effort, Roger.
Your turn. Who in the world of cars didn't deserve their inevitable golden parachute?