2007 Awards: Goat of the Year

We are pleased to announce the winner of this year’s coveted Goat of the Year award, presented annually to the digital-business executive whose bumbling, incompetence, and/or out-of-character-but-catastrophic mistake has screwed shareholders and/or customers the most.

And the 2007 Goat of the Year award goes to…Mitch Caplan, ex-CEO of E*Trade!

Back in July, Mitch’s E*Trade (ETFC) was riding high.  The iconic Internet broker had successfully (it seemed) married itself to a mortgage-trading desk bank, and the stock was trading at a post-Bubble high of $25 a share. Caplan and e*Trade  scoffed at analysts who complained that E*Trade’s profits were a mysterious black box, and, as usual, as long as the company kept posting pretty numbers, no one cared.

But, but, but…E*Trade’s bank wasn’t really a bank–it was a secret mortgage-gambling operation! And, so far, despite a $2.5 billion bailout by Citadel and 50% dilution of existing shareholders, E*Trade’s mortgage gambling losses have cost shareholders $9 billion and counting. The stock, meanwhile, is barely clinging to $3.

We continue to be fans of Mitch Caplan-the-man. But for the wholesale destruction of the shareholder value under his care, we are forced to name Mitch the…

2007 Goat of the Year

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