As CEO resignations witness a 49% jump, here are some notable names who were laid off by their companies

While it’s a common notion that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of any organisation is the most pampered position, recent reports will make you reconsider that thought. As per findings by Challenger, Grey & Christmas, a Chicago-based global outplacement firm, the position of the CEO is among the most volatile appointments currently globally.

Photo courtesy: Free Press Journal

While 2022 saw 969 CEO exits, this year has witnessed a 49 percent rise in the first nine months. The number of resignations/layoffs stand at 1,425.

Here is a list of notable names who were either sacked or quit their companies:

Steve Jobs

Apple’s co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, was sacked from the firm he built. The late founder was just 21 years old when he established Apple. Jobs was publicly ousted nine years after a power struggle with then-CEO John Sculley, whom Jobs hired from Pepsi. The Apple Board of Directors sided with Sculley and fired Jobs. During his Stanford University graduating speech, Jobs recounted the incident and said, “I was out, and very publicly out.”

“What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating,” he added.

Ankiti Bose

Photo courtesy: Zilingo

Photo courtesy: Zilingo

Co-founder and CEO of Singapore headquartered Zilingo, Ankiti Bose, was sacked in 2022 after an investigation into significant financial irregularities. According to media reports, Ankiti was sacked as CEO in May last year, increased her salary ten times without board approval and made USD 10 million worth of “unexplained payments” to various vendors. The startup’s investors included Temasek Holdings Pte and Sequoia Capital India, had started an investigation into the financial practices.

Sam Altman

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI and the developer of the AI chatbot ChatGPT, was recently sacked. The company’s board, in its statement said it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”

According to the announcement, Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati will be the interim CEO effective immediately, and the company will search for a permanent CEO successor. Altman took to X (former Twitter) and wrote, “I loved my time at OpenAI. It was transformative for me and, hopefully, the rest of the globe. Most of all, I enjoyed working with such talented people. I’ll have more to say about what comes next.”

Parag Agrawal

Elon Musk sacked senior Twitter executives within minutes of taking control. The CEO, Parag Agrawal, was the first to depart the company. Agrawal was chosen as Twitter’s CEO in November 2021.

Phaneesh Murthy

In 2013, Phaneesh Murthy, president and CEO of IT firm iGate, was fired for ‘violating’ company policy by failing to report a ‘relationship’ with a co-worker. An employee, Araceli Roiz, filed a sexual harassment claim. After an investigation by outside legal counsel, Murthy was found guilty. The company’s board of directors stated its headquarters in Fremont, California, claiming that the employee had also submitted a complaint alleging sexual harassment. Murthy had previously faced similar charges at Infosys.

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey co-founded the microblogging startup Twitter in 2006 but was sacked by the board of directors in 2008 following his work attitude. He was said to have spent several work hours painting and stitching.

Carol Bartz

In 2011, Yahoo’s CEO, Carol Bartz, was fired. The former top executive at Sun Microsystems and Autodesk, Bartz, joined Yahoo when Google gradually dominated the search industry. However, just after two and a half years, Bartz’s reign ended when, according to an email she sent to Yahoo employees in 2011, she was “fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board”.

Peter Chou

Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, was suddenly sacked from his position as CEO in March 2015, almost a decade after joining HTC. Chou was fired when the company’s smartphones failed to connect with buyers and received negative feedback.

Gianfranco Lanci

The Taiwanese computer company Acer’s CEO, Gianfranco Lanci, resigned in April 2011 due to differences with the board of directors. Lanci was Acer’s CEO since 2008 and was rumoured to be at odds with the board of directors over company strategy. Following Acer’s official statement, “Lanci held different views on the company’s future development than most board members and could not reach a consensus after several months of dialogue.”

Girish Paranjpe And Suresh Vaswani

Wipro’s joint CEO, Girish Paranjpe and Suresh Vaswani, resigned in January 2011. According to reports, the duo quit after the company failed to meet analyst anticipations in FY2010–2011’s third quarter.

Stephen Elop

Stephen Elop quit Microsoft to join Nokia. Investors never received the acquisition of Nokia’s handset division by former Microsoft CEO Ballmer. Elop struggled to achieve popularity for his own brand of Lumia telephones, which were exclusively compatible with Windows. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in an email to employees, said, “Stephen and I have decided that this is the right time for him to retire from Microsoft.”

Mark Hurd

In August 2010, when outside contractor Jodie Fisher accused HP CEO Mark Hurd of sexual harassment, Hurd was asked to exit. Following Hurd’s abrupt exit, HP lost billions of dollars in stock value. Given that Hurd had successfully overseen HP’s recovery after Carly Fiorina’s departure, the company also had to deal with multiple lawsuits. However, an internal HP inquiry cleared Hurd of harassment charges but found that he had submitted fake expense reports.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected to India)