Aug. 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM ET
Does every corporate titan have an inner Donald Trump?
During a tense conference call last week, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong abruptly – and awkwardly – fired his creative director, featured in an audio clip in which the CEO mimicked Trump's infamous boardroom rejoinder from the TV show, "The Apprentice."
A strategy call over the company's embattled Patch network that was meant as a way to rally employee morale turned into an impromptu bloodletting. As he laid out plans to close a batch of Patch's sites and lay off staff, Armstrong swung the ax at his creative director, Abel Lenz.
In the audio clip that's now going viral, Armstrong is heard telling the call's participants to "pick up your stuff and leave Patch today" if they weren't taking the network seriously. He then trains his sights on Lenz, whose job description includes taking pictures of board meetings.
"Abel, put that camera down right now," Armstrong is heard saying. Following up with a dictate that rivaled Trump, Armstrong said: "Abel, you're fired. Out."
Patch has struggled since AOL acquired the news and information platform in 2009 for $7 million.
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