AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Apologizes for Publicly Firing Employee, Does Not Hire Him Back

"I acted too quickly and I learned a tremendous lesson," Armstrong said

Tim Armstrong has finally responded to the criticism surrounding his rather public dismissal of Patch creative director Abel Lenz during a company conference call on Friday.

Lenz was taking photos of the call while Armstrong told Patch employees that AOL planned to close down many of Patch's unprofitable sites and begin layoffs. Armstrong suddenly turned to Lenz and said "Abel, put that camera down. You're fired. Out."

By Monday, Lenz's LinkedIn profile had been changed to reflect that he no longer worked at AOL. 

Also read: Yes, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Fired Patch's Abel Lenz

Armstrong has now emailed his employees about the matter, according to AllThingsD, writing that he made a "mistake" during the meeting "when I publicly fired Abel Lenz.

"I am accountable for the way I handled the situation, and at a human level it was unfair to Abel," Armstrong wrote.

He said that he was "driven by the desire" to encourage transparency and open meetings within the company. But Lenz was being too transparent: "Abel had been told previously not to record a confidential meeting, and he repeated that behavior on Friday, which drove my actions," Armstrong wrote.

He concluded "I acted too quickly and I learned a tremendous lesson," and said AOL would handle Patch as "thoughtfully and as openly as we can."

Thoughtful and open AOL did not return multiple requests for comment.