5 Tech CEOs Under Pressure

On The Hot Seat

Some big name companies have been rocked lately by market uncertainty, plummeting stock prices, mediocre earnings or declining market share (or all of the above). Here's a look at five CEOs that are under pressure to start turning things around.

Tim Cook, Apple

It may seem odd that the chief executive of the largest and most popular technology company in the world would be in jeopardy. But Cook has come under fire from Wall Street recently as Apple's stock price has taken a dramatic nosedive, plunging from more than $700 in September to just over $400 today. In addition, Apple's golden goose -- the iPhone -- has seen its growth slow in recent quarters as competition from Samsung and other smartphone makers has increased. Meanwhile, Apple fans and investors are getting anxious about new product announcements, wondering what the next big thing from Apple will be.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft

Microsoft is under fire once again, and this time it's over slow Windows 8 adoption. After a steep drop in worldwide PC shipments in Q1, market research firm IDC put part of the blame on Microsoft's latest operating system, which the firm said had failed to spark a much-needed PC refresh. And, Microsoft partners are frustrated with the software giant's channel moves lately, balking at cumbersome Windows 8 training and voicing their displeasure with Microsoft's retail-only plan for Surface tablets. Many are putting the blame squarely at Ballmer's feet.

Rory Read, AMD

Read, former president of Lenovo and longtime IBM executive, has been at the helm of AMD less than two years, but the chip maker's stock has fallen from $7 to around $2.50 in the last 12 months, and its market share has also dropped. Meanwhile, AMD continues to report quarterly losses, and the company’s outlook isn't great, either. Not only does the company have to go up against processor behemoth Intel on a daily basis, but it's also grappling with a declining PC market. As a result, Read has charted a new course for AMD toward embedded and semi-custom processors, as well as new ARM-based chips. But, can AMD get there fast enough?

Michael Dell, Dell

When Dell announced in February a deal with private equity firm Silver Lake Partners to take the IT company private, it was cheered by many channel partners. But the deal opened up questions about the health of the technology company, and investors were critical of the $13.65-per-share asking price, which some felt was too low; billionaire investor Carl Icahn threatened the company with "years of litigation" if the Silver Lake deal was approved. Then things got even more complicated as Dell received competing bids from Blackstone Group and Icahn himself. Blackstone eventually pulled its offer, citing a deteriorating PC market, but Icahn is pressing forward and pursuing other offers for Dell –- which could put Michael Dell out of the job.

Kevin Johnson, Juniper Networks

Juniper Networks had a tough 2012 as the company posted lackluster earnings and saw slow adoption of QFabric, its big data center bet. The company was also struck with a number of notable executive departures as well as layoffs and restructuring. Now Johnson is facing pressure to not only step up Juniper's data center play but also ramp up the company's security offerings, which have lagged behind the competition. Meanwhile, Juniper's stock price has fallen from $22 in February to $15.80 today, and the company said it expects continued weakness in the enterprise market for the current quarter.