Opinion

Why did Yahoo's CEO get the boot by phone?

So Yahoo has fired CEO Carol Bartz. Whatever the reasons for her sacking, I'm intrigued by the way Yahoo chose to fire her. 

In an email to Yahoo employees, 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."

Now, I know we're moving to a new unified communications world where face to face meetings can be replaced by other means of communication but really, firing someone over the phone? Am I alone in thinking the least the Chairman of the Board could have done was to tell Bartz she was fired in a face to face meeting.

Alright, maybe Yahoo is getting too modern for doing stuff face to face with two people in the same location. But if that's the case and it was serious about the unified communications way of doing things, the Chairman of the Board should at least have done the deed by video conference. I mean, a phone call? That's so passé.
 
I'll concede that as the phone call is pitched somewhere between face to face and email, it's not as bad as sacking someone by email. Perhaps the big part of Bartz's sacking is that it provides public evidence of a new protocol for modern business when it comes to firing staff. After all, lots of staff at companies have already been laid off by email, some have even been made redundant by text message. 
 
But here's my question: if a CEO only merits a phone call, who on earth would be worthy of a video conference or, heaven forbid, a face to face meeting?

This was first published in September 2011

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