The worst corporate Scrooges of 2008–“the CEOs who exhibited the worst kinds of unbridled greed and lack of compassion or concern for others over the last year”–were named yesterday by the consumer watchdog group Co-op America in conjunction with its Responsible Shopper program.
The top Scrooges for the year are: Charles Prince, former CEO, Citigroup; Rick Wagoner, chairman and CEO, General Motors; John J. Harris, chairman and CEO, Nestle Waters; and Bruce Williamson, CEO, Dynegy.
“These CEOs represent the worst of the worst when it comes to corporate insensitivity, avarice, and callousness,” says Co-op America Responsible Shopper’s Victoria Kreha. “They need to be held accountable for their actions, which, in some cases, have inflicted appalling harm on consumers and our environment.”
Nestle Waters chairman and CEO, John J. Harris, ranked high on the list “for putting profits before people and the planet.” According to a statement released by the watchdog group, Nestle Waters’ legal threats against Miami-Dade County in Florida after the county aired public-service messages telling people that the county’s public tap water was cheaper, safer, and purer than bottled water landed him on the list.
Nestle Waters North America claimed the ads “attack on the integrity of the company.” The International Bottled Water Association, a trade association representing the bottled water industry, is considering similar legal action.