Silicon Valley's worst of the worst

Revealed at last: The worst CEOs and the worst places to work in high tech, plus InfoWorld's 2010 Bozo of the Year

Think life is bad? Well, it could be worse. You could be working for LexisNexis' Andy Prozes, the most unpopular CEO in all of techdom. Prozes scored dead last (at 15 percent positive) when employees of 57 technology companies were asked to rate their boss by

What did Prozes' minions have to say about their company's culture? Here you go: "Very inflexible, very rigid, and uncompromising. Archaic working practices and terrible office space."

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Off the Record submissions

Then there's Jim Crowe of Level 3 Communications, approved by just 22 percent of the workforce. Comments included: "Work/life balance does not exist if you want to continue to be an employee. Corporate culture is fear-based, people are afraid to push the envelope for fear of reprisal. It's who you know and how much you are liked that will get you promoted or moved into a more desirable position."

Glassdoor is a career site with a database of about 100,000 companies. The site's 150,000 registered users rate their employers and CEOs on a scale of 1 to 5, based on surveys in eight categories: work/life balance, career opportunities, communication, compensation and benefits, fairness and respect, employee morale, recognition and feedback, and senior leadership. Ratings are monitored by actual people to be sure that someone with a grudge or a vested interest in a high rating doesn't game the system by voting multiple times.

Hewlett-Packard's fall from employee grace

While I'm always happy to beat on bozos, I have to say that the terrible rating given by employees to Hewlett-Packard is very sad. HP was once considered a great place to work, attracting top talent and providing long-term employment for tens of thousands of hardworking people -- not any more.

The legacy of two badly flawed CEOs (Carly Fiorina and Mark Hurd) and the questionable hiring of a failed CEO from SAP prompted employees to say: "Eroding pay and benefits. Stagnant would be an improvement. Outsourcing model gives no security for U.S. personnel. Employees treated more like a necessary evil then they are an asset." HP was tied for 55th place with a rating of just 2.2 on a scale of 5, better only than Samsung Austin Semiconductor and tied with GSI Commerce.

People I know at SAP were more than happy to see Léo Apotheker go to HP. "We called him 'the breaker,'" one executive told me this week. Why? "Because he broke everything he touched." SAP America, by the way, got a decent rating of 3.4, and co-CEOs Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott won approval by 69 percent of the employees who rated them.

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