Wrong-Way Irv

If you’ve got yourself a big corpor­ation in need of some muckety-mucks to sit on the board of directors, take it from us: You don’t want Irvine O. Hockaday Jr. The dude’s got some kind of boardroom curse.

Just the same, the 70-year-old Hocka­day sits on a lot of boards. A resident of Mission Hills and a former CEO of Hallmark, Hockaday is a director of Ford, Aquila, Crown Media Holdings, Sprint Nextel and Estée Lauder. In 2007, he retired from the board of Dow Jones & Co.

Investors would have been wise to steer clear of the companies that sought Hockaday’s wisdom. Half the companies lost value, while two of the three corporations with “up” arrows failed to keep up with inflation, dealing a blow to executives with fancy initials everywhere. During Hockaday’s dark days as a serial board sitter came Aquila’s Enron-style meltdown and the firing of Sprint executives who used dubious tax shelters.

Recently, Wall Street analysts called for the heads of four directors of Sprint Nextel, the embattled wireless carrier based in Overland Park. Pali Research analysts Walter Piecyk and Joseph Galone demanded a “fresh and more qualified set of eyes” in a note to shareholders. As you might’ve guessed, among those whom the analysts suggested should be canned was none other than Irvine O. Hockaday Jr.

Below, the Department of Burnt Ends has charted the success — or lack thereof — of the companies connected to Hockaday. Way to go, Irv.

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