The Business of Love

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Firing your CEO

Search "CEO fired" in Google and you'll see companies like Boeing, Gucci, Radio Shack, and Audi firing their CEOs for the following reasons: an affair with a coworker, disloyalty, lying on a resume, and criticizing a business partner. So, if I consider myself Handsome Inc., who is the CEO? I submit that my girlfriend is the CEO.

CEO = Significant Other?

Now some of you may be wondering how I can say that I'm not the CEO myself. Without getting into corporate organization too deeply the CEO is chosen by the owner (that is the stockholders for large corporations, but for Handsome Inc. there is only one stockholder; ME). So I am the owner and I choose my CEO by entering into a committed relationship. But this isn't the point today. Today I'm talking about the dreaded process of firing the CEO, aka Breaking Up.

Why Break Up?

If you look again at the reasons that CEOs were fired from large corporations they seem exactly like the reasons to end a relationship.
#1. An affair. Pretty simple I think.
#2. Disloyalty. Relationships can't work without both parties being loyal in thought, word, and deed.
#3. Lying on a resume. Your resume is how you initially present yourself to your significant other to enter into a relationship. Lying at that stage will kill most relationships because it destroys trust.
#4. Criticizing a business partner. She bags on your friends and/or family and it's time to go Donald Trump on her and say "You're fired!"

Firing your CEO: Quick and Painful

Since the CEO held such a high position of authority and is privy to sensitive information, this process must be handled correctly to avoid a PR nightmare. The following steps are recommended for most situations:

1. You must be 100% committed to firing your CEO. Waffling will only cause hurt feelings.
2. Be painfully direct. This is like pulling off a Band-Aid. You know it will hurt so the quicker you do it, the quicker you can start healing. Keep sugarcoating to a minimum.
3. Move on. CEOs help companies grow and improve. Go and find the CEO who will make you better.

*Cautionary Notes*

Former CEOs can be powerful allies or powerful enemies. A proper firing usually can avoid making an enemy, but even the best executed firing may not get you an ally. Remember that "hell hath no fury as a woman scorned."

Avoid listing a myriad of reasons for breaking up. If she accepted the job as CEO she should trust you when you say "I'm just not feeling it." Yes that's hard to hear because you want to know why, but I've seen both ways.

Firing a CEO will not be pleasant. Just accept it.