CEOs don't have the easiest jobs in the world. Being responsible for leading an organization with needy employees, unreasonable suppliers, and impatient shareholders who all demand perfection can certainly be a daunting task. It ain't for the faint of heart.
While back in the good 'ol dot-com boom days, CEOs got more attention than rock stars just for showing up to work wearing a clean, pressed suit, times have indeed changed. The images of Enron and WorldCom executives being carted away in handcuffs undoubtedly changed how investors view the corporate chief.
With eye-popping pay packages being the norm now, for CEOs it's either produce the numbers or make room for the next candidate. Good example: Shareholders didn't show any mercy for Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) CEO Stan O'Neal or Citigroup (NYSE: C) boss Chuck Prince in the wake of the recent credit debacle that rocked the financial institutions to the core. It's a fiercely competitive world, and if one CEO can't perform, well, don't let the door hit you on the way out.