The lists of the main employers are good, but what about the 50 worst?

Earlier this month, a British executive director had an email with one of his clients that left the woman gobsmacked.

This man is not a famous grouch, like Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, who once said the idea that the customer was always right was “iron.”

He doesn’t even make news like that James Watt, co-founder of the craft beer group, BrewDog, that last week promise to listen and learn after dozens of ex-staff have written a open letter saying that society was full of “toxic attitudes” and had a “rotten culture”.

His name is James Price and he runs a dress he founded called Everything Genetic, which is one of the leading Covid test providers in the UK government lists for arriving travelers who need to demonstrate that they can safely leave their quarantine.

The dust-up e-mail began when a friend of mine who had gone to London from abroad wrote to ask for a refund because the results of the tests she had ordered from her company had not reached the ‘expected now.

Mr. Price responded by saying that, as far as he knew, his company had been stuck with its advertising response times and if it paid a refund there would be no test results.

My friend, fearing this meant she would be trapped in the house even more, protested vigorously. She said she needed the result and that a refund would encourage customer loyalty, to which Mr. Price told him frankly, “We’d rather have returning customers who understand what they’re buying.”

He finally gave up when he was shown what one of his staff had told him when his results were ready. Acknowledging that she had received incorrect customer service information, she offered both the refund and her results, but it was too late.

My friend, a former senior executive, said she found her attitude so tiny that she would never use her business again.

Mr Price later told me he was sorry for any poor service, including his responses to customer complaints, which would now be dealt with by others in the company.

But it came to mind last week when a year ago list of “top CEOs” is out, this time by Glassdoor, the career site where employees can submit anonymous reviews of their companies.

The list ranked the leaders in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Germany during the 12 months in difficulty until May of this year, using an internal rating system that measures quality, quantity and the consistency of magazines.

Among his most notable discoveries: Microsoft’s Satya Nadella has entered the list of all countries except France, which does some work, according to Glassdoor.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg failed to figure in the list of the top 100 U.S. leaders for the first time since ranking in 2013, when he was ranked number one, which is also a fact.

Other CEOs who came to the lists of three countries were SalesforceMarc Benioff; Morgan StanleyJames Gorman and Airbus‘Guillaume Faury.

This is all interesting, as were the reasons that employees were given to evaluate these leaders so highly. Not only have they provided decent pay, good benefits and career progression, many have also earned points for offering flexible or distance work.

That’s all good to know. Yet my friend’s experience was a reminder that it might as well be good to have a reliable list of the worst CEOs. Doesn’t it offer more useful guidance for potential employees, customers, and investors, especially when it comes to smaller, less-scrutinized businesses? I know a few people have tried such things over the years, but none with the weight of Glassdoor. When I asked the site if she had ever considered such a list, a spokeswoman said she had not. “We prefer to look at best practices and those that go well.”

He indicated that CEOs get a Glassdoor rating based on cumulative reviews – as opposed to one for the last year – and these can be instructive.

Ryanair’s O’Leary scored just 43 percent, well below the site’s overall rating average of 73 percent. BrewDog’s Watt comes in at just 52 percent.

Everything is fine, but if the site still comes with an annual ranking of CEO votes, then I won’t be the only one wanting to read it.

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Twitter: @pilitaclark

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