How should I share my thoughts with our CEO that firing our previous leader without any concrete publicized reason/background (except that the management and the old manager has different view of the future) stinks and decreases team morale?

(We have some guesses/gossips for the reason of the leaving but we do not understand too much. We were pretty satisfied with the terminated leader.)


Thanks for the answers! They helped me a lot to realize what is the real problem here. The problem is not that that the boss was fired or that we don't know the reasons. The problem is that there were not any sign that they have warned the boss or tried to solve the issues before the termination. So the message for other employees is the following: you can be fired immediately without any notice before. I think that this is bad. (And I still don't know whether I should share my feelings with the CEO about this or not :), and if I should, how. Should I ask this as a separate question?)

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    It already has happened. – user12308 Nov 15 '13 at 6:28
  • @JoeStrazzere: Not exactly. Check the update please. – user12308 Dec 29 '13 at 0:54
  • @JoeStrazzere: I don't think so, if I do something I'd like to do it more constructive. The main goal was team morale restore/increase and to avoid similar situations in the future. The issue is getting old and I don't think that I'll bother it in the future but I am still interested in the opinion of the community. (If I were the CEO I would be grateful for a feedback like this but it seems to me that I'm wrong.) – user12308 Dec 29 '13 at 2:55

Executive Summary

You shouldn't. Knowing will not change the situation (though it may satisfy your curiosity), while telling you could be problematic for many reasons. Asking for justification made above your pay grade will also likely paint you in a bad light.

Effect Positive Change

If you liked the previous boss, but have issues with the current one, put your effort in to improving that relationship. No amount of nostalgia over your previous boss will bring him back, and letting your boss and the CEO know that you preferred the older boss is not going to make that working relationship any easier.

If there are specific things about the way the previous leader worked that were beneficial to the team, work to re-implement those with the new boss by explaining what worked, why, and what the benefits were to the team. Don't put it in context of the old boss, put it in context of creating a more productive team moving forward.

Do Not Dwell on the Past

There are a trillion reasons your old boss could have been fired, and knowing them will not improve your work experience or give you closure. What if he was fired because:

  1. He was embezzling company funds
  2. He was sexually harassing the secretary
  3. He lied about his credentials/education/work history
  4. He put a man in the hospital after a bar fight, etc.

Would knowing any of these things be beneficial to you? Would it be beneficial for the company to tell you? Would learning about an indiscretion satisfy you and help you focus on your work, or just make you more curious about the details?

What happened happened, sometimes things are better left unsaid.

Know Your Place

Whatever reason he was fired for, it was decided by people in charge of managing your managers. This is well above your pay grade.

The decision was likely made behind closed doors, with far more information than you have, and was probably not made lightly. What will reopening that wound with incomplete information accomplish?

If you go up to the CEO and say, "We really liked our old boss, and want to know why he was fired" what you are essentially saying is, "Despite not having complete information, we think that you made the wrong decision, and expect you to justify your choice to us."

Chances are you wouldn't make that demand if your boss had switched careers without telling you where he was leaving or why, so what makes you think that in the more sensitive context of someone being fired this will be a good idea?

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    Love it. I'd add one comment - the one thing you can ask about is "where is this business headed? how can I help?" - it's always fair to ask superiors for help with understanding the corporate strategy. It's quite possible that the old boss didn't give you a great perspective on this stuff. – bethlakshmi Nov 14 '13 at 23:42

You shouldn't. HR matters are inherently confidential. There may even be some non-disclosure agreements in place, depending on how it was handled.

What you need to be concerned with now is meeting your current manager's expectations, and nothing else.


The reasons eventually emerge, but not in so many words. For the same reason people don't give you a bad reference after you've moved on, the reasons for executive discharges are managed discreetly in part so that they remain employable, and in part because employees, with some understanding of the cause, might avoid the company to where the executive moves. This information emerges from pool parties, beer busts, 'the grapevine', and other unofficial channels, often coming through administrative assistants.

A lot of highly public firings have simply been due to major differences in philosophy. Someone has a project going that they think is going to make money, the investors and board don't think it's going to work, so they instruct the executive to go do it on someone else's nickel. Often both are right - there's nothing wrong with doing what you're doing, just don't do it here.

The common explanation for discreet CEO discharges is that they were, to some degree or another 'looting the company' via excessive personal expenses. Another common issue is an inability to find and close deals - CEOs make up a component of the core sales team, and if they aren't bringing in the bacon you (as in you the OP) will soon be out of work. The last most likely is that existing customers are unhappy (quite possibly enraged) by lack of delivery - either contracted work not getting finished or product delivered but not supported. Imagine the company as a whole as a sole proprietorship - if it cannot, as a unit, pay it's way, get new customers, or keep the ones it has then it disappears.

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    Hey Meredith, it looks like you're explaining why the boss may have been fired, while the question is asking "How should I share my thoughts with our CEO that firing our previous leader ... stinks and decreases team morale?" Any chance you could make an edit to address that question? Thanks in advance! – jmac Nov 15 '13 at 1:39

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