Hello, You’re Fired: Yahoo CEO and Breakup Etiquette

Sep 7, 2011 1:20pm
nm carol bartz 100512 main Hello, Youre Fired: Yahoo CEO and Breakup Etiquette

Former Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz at the company's Sunnyvale, Calif. headquarters in April 2009. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Like any breakup, firing an employee can be hard to do. But when Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz was fired over the phone by Chairman Roy Bostock, she decided not to go quietly.  She informed the entire company about it in an email.

“To all,” Bartz wrote, “I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.”

Bartz succeeded co-founder Jerry Yang in January 2009 to lead the embattled Internet company, based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Michelle Goodman, workplace columnist, said a firing situation that could be worse in terms of etiquette is learning the news by accident. That could happen when a company is planning layoffs secretly or in a hurry.

She said the phone firing was surprising, considering the high stature of Bartz and the care companies usually deploy in crafting press releases for management changes.

“At least it wasn’t a text or email but it strikes me as warranting a face-to-face meeting,” Goodman said. “Maybe it’s old school, but etiquette dictates that.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Kara Swisher reported Bartz and Bostock were flying separately on the East Coast and did not have the chance to meet.

According to the Yahoo’s press release, the board appointed Timothy Morse interim chief executive, “effective immediately, replacing Carol Bartz, who has been removed by the Board from her role as Chief Executive Officer.”

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus