Thursday, August 15, 2013

AOL worker fired in front of 1,000 coworkers

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong abruptly fired a worker in front of a thousand of his coworkers at AOL Patch (you know, that chain of local newspapers). Because he took a photo.

Media commentator Jim Romenesko covered the story like a cheap suit.

It happened Friday during a conference call Armstrong hosted the day after he told investors the company would shrink from 900 to 600 websites. Employees figured some of them would lose their jobs. Armstrong decided to hold a conference call to boost morale.

Perhaps he didn't realize that firing someone on the spot wasn't exactly the way to rally the troops.

Business Insider explains what happened:
During the first minute or so of the recording, Armstrong says things like: "If you don't believe what I'm about to say, I'm going to ask you to leave Patch…We have to get Patch into a place where it's going to be successful." 
But then things go suddenly awry. 
At exactly two minutes into the recording, Armstrong addresses someone in the room with him.  
He says, "Abel, put that camera down, now." 
Then, without taking a breath, Armstrong says, "Abel, you're fired. Out." 
It's pretty shocking stuff. 
The person Armstrong is talking to in the recording is Abel Lenz, Patch's Creative Director. Obviously, Lenz is no longer with the company.
Continuing his efforts at damage control, Armstrong sent a memo to the AOL employees he didn't fire (yet), saying he made an emotional mistake in firing Lenz. He sent a letter to Lenz, too, and apologized.

Lenz is still fired.

Click here to see the photo that got Lenz fired. Click here to hear Armstrong fire Lenz.

Bet they wish they belong to a union.