7 Founding CEOs Fired by Their Own Companies

Steve Jobs, Apple

steve5In 1985, a power struggle had erupted between Jobs and the man he recruited to be Apple's new executive, John Sculley, and Jobs was removed from his leadership position at the Macintosh group.

However, Jobs went on to launch a new computer company, NeXT, as well as Pixar Animation Studios. Eleven years later, the struggling Apple Computer brand acquired NeXT, returning Jobs to the company he founded. The following year, in 1997, Jobs become Apple's CEO.

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David Neeleman, Jet Blue

neel3In 2007, Jet Blue CEO David Neeleman was demoted from the top spot when the board felt the airline was experiencing too many service difficulties and disappointing profits under Neeleman's helm. The following year Neeleman, who remained with Jet Blue, founded a new airline, Azul.

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Rob Kalin, Etsy

rkRob Kalin, who started the online marketplace Etsy, ousted from his CEO position in 2008, and after returning at the helm, eventually stepped down for good in 2011. Kalin is still with Etsy however, and has been successful in growing Etsy's sales, which reached $895.1 million in 2012.

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Mike Lazaridis, RIM

lazar1In 2012, Mike Lazaridis forfeited his spot as CEO at RIM, now known as BlackBerry Limited. Some attribute his resignation to increasing pressure by shareholders who were pushing for Lazaridis to leave. In 2013, he stepped away entirely from the company's board following the release of Blackberry 10. Lazaridis had founded the company more than two decades ago, in 1984.

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Jerry Yang, Yahoo! Inc.

jy3In 2008, co-founder of Yahoo! Inc. stepped down as CEO after serving in the position for a little over a year. Yang was criticized for failing to increase profits, as well as turning down an acquisition offer from Microsoft. In 2012, he left the company altogether. Since that move, Yang has walked away completely from Silicon Valley business dealings, also leaving the board of Cisco. Yang co-founded Yahoo in 1995.

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George Zimmer, Men's Wearhouse

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 11.41.03 AMIn June of 2013, George Zimmer, CEO and founder of men's clothing retailer chain, Men's Wearhouse, was fired from his own company.

Zimmer was let go by the Board of Directors, with this statement: "He advocated for significant changes that would enable him to regain control, but ultimately he was unable to convince any of the Board members or senior executives that his positions were in the best interests of employees, shareholders or the company's future."

Zimmer responded: "Instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the Boardroom that has, in part, contributed to our success, the Board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns by terminating me as an executive officer."

Zimmer founded the company in 1973 in Houston, Texas. In 1986 he began appearing in commercials for the company with the now-famous catch phrase "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it."

(Image via TMZ)

Andrew Mason, Groupon

drewIn February of 2013, Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon, was fired. Unlike Zimmer's dismissal, many knew it was only a matter of time until Mason was let go, including Mason himself. “I was fired today,” Mason wrote in a letter to staff. “If you’re wondering why … you haven’t been paying attention.”

His dismissal came a day before it was announced that Groupon had lost $81 million for the previous quarter. Mason, who is worth more than $200 million, has said he is entirely accountable for Groupon's catastrophic decline.

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