Original Article: Armstrong’s Behavior Another Red Flag For AOL

(MoneyWatch) Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, shot himself in the foot by apparently firing a worker in the midst of a conference call — no matter how justified the firing.

“Maybe it was a last straw for two people who were already at odds,” says John Challenger, president of outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “We don’t know the history. But the way he did this has to make everyone on the call question his ability to remain calm and poised in a difficult situation.”

Armstrong, the beleaguered chief executive of AOL, is under fire because he promised shareholders that AOL’s “hyper-local” news operation called Patch.com would be profitable by the end of 2013. First-half results indicate the promise will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. However, it was a key element in getting shareholders to turn back an attempt by an activist shareholder to get seats on AOL’s board last year.