The Weirdest CEO Moments of 2005
By Eugenia Levenson

(FORTUNE Magazine) – When chief executive Patrick Byrne went Star Wars on a quarterly conference call this summer--deriding a shadowy figure he called the "Sith Lord"-- he set the investment community buzzing. Other company leaders have raised eyebrows in surprising ways this year too. A trip down memory lane.

• Change of Flight Plan Boeing's board brought Harry Stonecipher out of retirement in late 2003 to rescue its then scandal-tainted image. But Stonecipher failed to follow the company's ethical guidelines, resigning on March 6 after an extramarital affair with a Boeing executive. The company all but slapped him with a scarlet A in an unusually candid press release.

• Private Property His ouster from AIG was so abrupt that former CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg left without his personal effects. After weeks of negotiations, the company finally let him retrieve, among other things, the health records of his pet Maltese, Snowball, his monogrammed towels--and some unspecified "underwear."

• Too Sexy for His Staff American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was named in two sexual harassment suits in May. Among the allegations: that Charney conducted job interviews in his underwear and gave employees vibrators. Charney denied the charges. He told a reporter, "I don't think I go over the line. Sexuality and sexual words become part of the daily banter of work life in any free society."

• A Picture Is Worth ... Surveillance cameras at Hollinger Inc.'s Toronto headquarters caught former CEO Conrad Black red-handed in May making off with cartons of files through a back door, flouting a court order while under criminal and securities investigations. The cameras had been installed earlier that day.

• Gender Bender Speaking to reporters about driver Danica Patrick's strong Indy 500 finish in June, Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone said she was "super" before suggesting that "women should all be dressed in white like all other domestic appliances." He repeated the remark to a puzzled Patrick in a phone call later that week.

• Seek and Ye Shall Find Mass Mutual's sacking of CEO Robert O'Connell was traced to his wife, who tried to crash a board meeting to air suspicions of an extramarital affair. A board probe turned up no proof of a dalliance but found millions in allegedly suspect returns in his shadow retirement account.

• A Night to Forget American Express filed suit against Savvis Inc. and its CEO, Robert McCormick, in October for failing to pay McCormick's $241,000 one-night tab at Manhattan topless club Scores. AmEx claims McCormick said he rang up only $20,000 in charges (and blamed the rest on fraud), but Scores provided AmEx with signed receipts for the full sum. Savvis placed the CEO on unpaid leave in October.