Layoffs are coming to AOL’s Patch hyperlocal news service over the next week or so, according to multiple reports. When the company reported its earnings earlier this week, CEO Tim Armstrong indicated that AOL would get rid of up to 300 Patch sites.
The company is not commenting publicly about Patch currently, but plenty of rumors and bits of news are trickling out anyway.
TechCrunch is reporting that it has confirmation from “a well-placed Patcher” that Armstrong confirmed hundreds would be laid off, with notifications expected throughout next week.
According to Business Insider, who cites “a former Patch executive who remains in contract with people” there, Patch CEO Steve Kalin and Chief Content Officer Rachel Feddersen are out.
“Abel, put that camera down. You’re fired. Out,” Armstrong said. After a pause of about five seconds, he then continued the call as though nothing had happened.
Then after about five more minutes of talking about whatever, he threw in “and the reason I fired Abel before was I don’t want anyone taking pictures of this meeting.” He invoked some kind of comparison to a sports team’s locker room.
But he seriously fired someone live on a conference call with the entire company … a call that informed us that no one would be laid off today but that instead the layoffs (sorry, “impacts”) would happen at different junctures next week depending on the success of finding “partners” for moribund Patch sites.
I guess this story will continue to unfold over the next week or so. Stay tuned.