In the past year, a wave of chief executives at the biggest U.S. corporations have been fired or left under pressure. Even the venerated Jack Welch of General Electric appeared to have worn out his welcome when he said he would stay beyond the date long set for his retirement - without having named a successor - to complete the Honeywell deal. And banks have hardly been immune to the trend.

Edward Crutchfield, chairman of First Union Corp. - though he announced his resignation this year to battle cancer - is leaving in his wake earnings difficulties and a weak stock price brought on by post-merger problems. John McCoy, former chairman and CEO of Bank One Corp., left similar business woes when he quit under pressure nearly a year ago.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.