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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Fires Abel Lenz For Trying To Take Photo During Conference Call

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Tim ArmstrongTim Armstrong

The CEO of AOL apparently fired an employee who tried to take his picture during a conference call.

AOL’s Tim Armstrong canned an employee identified by the New York Post as Creative Director Abel Lenz, who tried to snap a photo of the CEO during a conference call with Patch editors.

“Abel, put that camera down. You’re fired,” Armstrong said, according to TechCrunch, a website that is also owned by AOL, reported the New York Post.

Gawker reports that Jim Romenesko got more details of the incident and conference call, noting that after the firing, there was a pause of about five seconds before Armstrong continued the call as though nothing had happened.

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During the conference call with Patch editors, Armstrong said he would pull the plug or find partners for 400 of the division’s 900 websites as AOL reasserts its authority over the money-losing “hyperlocal” venture.

The New York Post added that Lenz could not be reached for comment and had not changed his profile on LinkedIn, where he is still listed as Patch’s creative director, but calls to the AOL switchboard said they had no employee by that name.

Armstrong was the biggest backer of Patch when it was founded in 2007. The former top Google executive sold it to AOL for $7 million in 2009, shortly after he became CEO of AOL, and considered it key to his efforts to reinvent AOL after a decade of steady decline.

By some estimates, AOL has spent more than $300 million on Patch since 2009, and it has yet to turn a profit.

Sources: New York Post, Gawker