1M is a pretty big ad-spend for even a medium sized company. If it was a total failure than the leadership had absolutely no clue what was going on. The CEO is to blame.
If you're trying to get 'customer acquisition' then there's no reason that ads could not have been tested - you should have been able to resolve the unknown one for under $50K.
Granted - every situation is different and I understand it's not always so clean - but still - 1M is a lot especially if it affected the company. Sounds really bad.