Riverside resident Tim Armstrong, by all accounts a really nice guy, doesn’t enjoy presiding over the Titanic, apparently, and the experience has sapped his sense of humor. Yesterday, the former Google exec, now AOL chief and, sadly for him, responsible for keeping AOL Patch alive, fired his creative director on the spot.
Earlier today, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong fired Abel Lenz, Creative Director at AOL Patch.com, in front of 1,000 coworkers.
AOL is reducing the number of sites in its local news network, Patch, from 900 to 600.
Today, Armstrong hosted a conference call with Patch employees to explain the news.
During the call, according to a source, Armstrong told Lenz to “stop taking pictures.” Then Armstrong said “You’re fired.”
Then there were a few seconds of silence. Then Armstrong resumed speaking.
A few minutes later, Armstrong complained about leaks to the media. He said the leaks were making Patch seem like “loser-ville” in the press.
He said, “That’s why Abel was fired.”
“We can’t have people that are in the locker room giving the game plan away.”
I’ve always wanted to try that to see whether it helped discipline around here but I don’t have employees or even a dog to kick around and, at least so far, I’m not into self-flagellation. Walt will probably let me know what I’m missing.
* That’s for palindrome and history fans who know their Napoleon: “Able was I ere I saw Elba”.
Palindromes, by the way, date back to the beginning of man: “Madam, I’m Adam”.