RIM executives, are you listening? How to find a job after a public flameout
The Toronto Star, December 2011
Two Research in Motion executives fired after their drunken behaviour forced an Air Canada flight to reroute are no doubt having among the worst weeks of their professional lives, but recent history suggests their careers aren’t over.
“I think they’ll have to let the dust settle for quite some time,” said Sylvia MacArthur, president, Madison MacArthur, an influential head-hunting company based in Toronto.
“If they have really strong capabilities, it will be an opportunity for a company that doesn’t have quite as high a profile to pick up a strong executive, probably at a fairly good rate.”
George Campbell, 45, was a senior vice-president and Paul Alexander Wilson, 38, was a vice-president at RIM, which has this year had to deal with bad press over a worldwide Blackberry power outage, wobbly share prices and disappointing product launches.
They were fired Monday a week after they became drunk and disorderly on an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Beijing with more than 300 passengers and crew. The flight crew decided over Alaska to return to Vancouver, where the men were arrested by the RCMP and the other passengers had to be put up for the night.
“Somewhere down the road I am sure they will land, but it will probably be a different level of company. Certainly no company in the public eye would want to be seen as making the hire immediately,” MacArthur said.
There was Steven Slater, the fed-up JetBlue flight attendant who ended a 20-year career by swearing at an angry passenger and sliding out of the plane using the emergency chute. He trended on Twitter, made the front page of the New York Times and Japanese TV news.
Carol Bartz, the former CEO of Yahoo Inc. tried to avoid being fired by hiding out in a hotel room, but that may not have been her worst mistake. After telling Fortune Magazine that the board was made up of “doofuses,” reports began circulating that Yahoo was going to enforce a non-disparagement clause in her contract and withhold $10-million (US) in payments to her.
But it’s not always bad. Former parliamentary page Brigette DePape, 22, is on a speaking tour after losing her job in June for holding up a sign in the Senate saying “Stop Harper.”