What with Occupy Wall Street and all, CEOs may be under even more scrutiny than usual this year. So it's fitting that there's been no shortage of notable quotables from corporate America's chief executives.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan faced especially high levels of criticism of late, largely due to his company mishandling various PR flops, from allegedly improper foreclosures to the now infamous debit fee flop. But Moynihan didn't make the situation easy for himself either, instead arguing at different points that his company had a "right to make a profit" and that the outside world didn't realize "how much good" his employees do.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings likewise hasn't handled adverse reactions to his business decisions all too smothly. After raising the price of subsciptions for the DVD mail and streaming video service, Hastings offered a letter of apology beginning with the words "I messed up." However, the email itself may have been an even worse blunder than the one for which he was apologizing: in it, he announced that Netflix's streaming and DVD services would henceforth be separated -- an idea so unpopular that the company scrapped it just six weeks later.
Those blunders aside, along with the reality of declining national median income, CEOs have still enjoyed huge paydays in the first years of the recovery. But as it happens, most shareholders say executive pay levels are fine as currently constructed. Must not bother them that some of the country's chief executives now earn more than their entire company pays in income tax, such as Cisco CEO John Chambers, who made $18 million last year.
Here are the 11 most embarrassing CEO quotes of 2011: