Is he having a laugh?

Posted August 11, 2009 in Communication, Latest News & Insights

In today’s Globe and Mail you may have read on page A2 the sad story of Ira Hopmeyer, Chairman and CEO of Ritchies Auctioneers.

Poor Mr. Hopmeyer.  Apparently, 27 of his employees were laid off without notice last week and he had NO IDEA that it happened.  And we quote:  “I found out [Aug 4] that senior management had laid off staff. For the record I did not lay off anybody off.”

WHAT???  To quote Ricky Gervais’ Extra’s character Ray Stokes… “is he having a laugh???”

Are we expected to believe that the CEO of a company has absolutely NO IDEA that people are going to be laid off.

This is a classic example of a situation where, whether the story is true or false, Mr Hopmeyer looks ineffective.

Shockingly bad leadership in action.  Even if he didn’t know what was going on, he probably should have got his facts straight before being quoted in the media.  Sure, there are times when direct reports do things without your knowledge, but if you find out about them, it’s your job as a leader to fix it.  Hand wringing and giving excuses isn’t part of the job description.

Happy leading!


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  1. Freigang69 says:

    This auction house allegedly accepted consignments when it may have allegedly been insolvent when allegedly they accepted those consignments. Which if true would mean they allegedly accepted the consigned goods without ever having the intention of ensuring the consignor was going to be paid the full proceeds. Does that constitute accepting goods for resale in bad faith? Or does it constitute theft or fraud?

    • LeaderTalker says:

      Amazing isn’t it? He probably didn’t know that was going on either…. Then again, he doesn’t seem to be role modeling honest communication so why would the staff? Thanks for the commentary.