A public figure runs a media company. An employee of that media company recorded some words, then took a picture of this public figure. This employee is now fired and tensions are high at America Online.
If you didn’t already know it, Tim Armstrong is the CEO of AOL. He founded an Internet media platform in 2007 called “Patch” along with Warren Webster, president of Patch Media and Jon Brod, president of AOL Ventures.
AOL acquired Patch in 2009 at the same time Armstrong replaced then CEO Randy Falco. On the heels of some potentially mass layoffs at the online network, Armstrong was upset when Patch Creative Director, Abel Lenz, took a picture of him and recorded some audio during a meeting about the firings. Armstrong proceeded to shout and verbally chastise the man, not only in front of the face-to-face participants, but to a much larger crowd listening on.
Armstrong says he’s sorry for the way he fired Lenz. He says his behavior was due to his intense desire to more fully communicate with his subordinates.
“My action was driven by the desire to openly communicate with over a thousand Patch employees across the US. The meeting on Friday was the second all-hands we had run that week and people came to Friday’s meeting knowing we would be openly discussing some of the potential changes needed at Patch. As you know, I am a firm believer in open meetings, open Q&A, and this level of transparency requires trust across AOL. Internal meetings of a confidential nature should not be filmed or recorded so that our employees can feel free to discuss all topics openly. Abel had been told previously not to record a confidential meeting, and he repeated that behavior on Friday, which drove my actions.”
Although Armstrong apologizes for Lenz’s public “thrashing,” he still has no intention of rehiring the man. While the CEO says he is sorry for simply being “emotional,” he essentially affords his former creative director no such luxury.
“Lenz is still out of a job,” Armstrong said.
When asked about how he feels about what has happened to him, Lenz strangely remains silent. Armstrong says he has no intention of compensating Lenz for the public humiliation, according to the CEO’s Facebook page.
In a Tweet to CNN, Lenz had very little to say.
“No comment,” he said.