AOL Firing: Armstrong To Lenz ‘You’re Fired, Out,’ Donald Trump Couldn’t Do It Better
Has Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, been following The Apprentice? He sure seemed to take note of how Donald Trump fires people; at least, that’s what Abel Lenz probably thought.
Abel Lenz was the Creative Director at AOL Patch.com; at least, he was until Friday last week. The story of the method of his firing is now enshrined in the minds of CEOs and Human Resources managers across the globe forever.
Lenz was fired during a company conference call with 1,000 workers listening in.
We have some new information that may explain why one of the most bizarre sequences in AOL history happened. An audio-tape went viral on the web shortly after the firing.
Armstrong was addressing the workers when he suddenly paused to address someone in the room. He said, “Abel, put that camera down, now.” He followed this up immediately with “Abel, you’re fired. Out.”
The timing is crucial. If Armstrong had intended to warn Lenz, he only needed to make the first remark. Since Lenz had no time to do anything with the camera before the second remark, it is obvious that Armstrong had planned the firing long before.
It not as if Lenz was doing anything unusual; he always took pictures of known speakers at company meetings to post on the AOL internal website.
So, what was the real reason he was so quick to fire him? Sources have said that Armstrong was dissatisfied with Lenz’s work on the new Patch 2.0 project.
Abel Lenz lead the redesign of the project, at least in the early stages, after it had become clear that the current Patch operation wasn’t good. Armstrong didn’t conceal the fact that he was not happy with the way Patch 2.0 was proceeding. “Crap” was the word he was alleged to have called it.
So, that the only logical conclusion a reasonable person could come to is that the firing had nothing to do with the camera; it had everything to do with Patch 2.0.
Of course, for Lenz, the outcome is the same. He is probably the first person to have been directly fired with a 1,000 coworkers playing witness.
Maybe Abel Lenz has inadvertently found himself a place in business history, and coined a new word; anyone fired in similar circumstances will be said to have been Lenzed.