Tragic Tales Of 10 Founders Whose Own Company Kicked Them Out

When Ashneer Grover was fired from BharatPe, a company that he built from his sweat and blood, everyone was in shock. How can the board members do this? It sounds unfair to us but they have the power to kick him out. There are several cases when company founders were fired by their own company.

The list includes founders of industry giants like Uber, Twitter, Tesla, and so on. This is hard to believe but it’s a reality. Read to know more about what went wrong between those founders and their companies.

Famous Companies And Their Founders Who Were Fired 

1. Tesla’s CEO Turned Employee From A Founder

founders who were fired

Only one name comes to our mind whenever we hear the name ‘Tesla.’ Of course, Elon Musk is the founder but he was not the only one. Martin Eberhard was Tesla’s original CEO and the man behind Tesla’s name.

In 2007, Martin got news that he is no longer the CEO of Tesla, he is fired. It happened during a board meeting in which Martin was not present. Later, he founded that company violated laws and so he arranged another meeting to resign from his position.

During an interview with Forbes, Martin said “ When I got kicked out of Tesla I had no money; worse than that, I had no possibility of employment for about a year.”

Also Read: This Company Destroyed Tesla Model 3 To Make iPhone 13 Pro/Max

2. Apple’s Founder Steve Jobs Fired By His Own Employee

founders who were fired (1)

Worst that could happen to a company’s founder is his own employee replaces him. Steve Jobs’ short temper caused him this loss when he hired a former PepsiCo executive to run the firm.

John Sculley and Steve Jobs were often involved in heated arguments. In 1985, John along with board members forced Jobs to leave Apple. Sculley was CEO of Apple at that time.

3. Twitter’s CEO Was Kicked Out Twice

twitter founder jack dorsey

Simply starting a company isn’t enough to take it to the heights. One needs to be good in communication, management and know, how to deal with tough times. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, was good at nothing as Nick Bilton mentioned in his book.

Jack was over interested in his hobbies and parties that annoyed the board members as well as co-founder Evan Williams. In 2008, he was fired but company hired him again in 2015.

Finally in 2021, Dorsey ended his journey with a resignation letter in which he mentioned company can do well without its founders.

4. Uber Fired Its Founder To Repair Company’s Image

uber founder Travis Kalanick

While many believe that Travis Kalanick had resigned from the post, reality reveals something else. He was forced to quit because of not one or two but 10 reasons. A few reasons were rape scandals, sexual harassment, failure of self-driving cars, and charging more money from rich customers.

All these reasons eventually forced Kalanick to step down in 2017 so that company could repair its image.

5. Etsy’s Founder Fired For Not Scaling Up The Company

etsy founder

Rob was once famous for his outspoken attitude and was awarded Technology Pioneer award. But, gradually his image in the industry turned as an accidental businessperson.

And his comment on stakeholders forced him to leave Etsy. He said shareholders are not important and maximizing shareholder value is ridiculous.

6. Blackberry’s Downfall Begun With Founders’ Exit

founders of blackberry

Blackberry smartphones once were very successful among consumers but the beginning of iPhone nearly destroyed the company. It was however not the only reason, the main cause was poor management, leadership failure, and pressures from shareholders.

Founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis could not serve the consumers’ interests and failed to go with the trend.

7. Cisco’s Founder Exit Ended Her Married Life Too

cisco founders sandy lerner and leonard bosack

IT and Networking giant Cisco was founded by Sandra Lerner along with her husband Len Bosack. However, their relationship ended with the company when Cisco went public in 1990. She was forced to resign over disagreements with board members.

His husband also resigned in solidarity and both sold all their stocks in millions. Later, the couple divorced in 2016.

8. Founder of Yahoo Exit Taking The Company’s Fortune

yahoo founder jerry yang

Yahoo’s founder Jerry Yang was seen as an obstacle in a deal that could give Yahoo’s control to Microsoft. Yang opposed it to continue Yahoo as an independent company. In 2012, he resigned from all positions, a move that confirmed Yahoo’s sale. It was later sold to Verizon and then again to Apollo Global Management at $5 billion.

9. Groupon Founder Blamed Himself After Being Fired

groupon founder andrew mason

None of the founders who were fired from their own companies accepted their mistakes. The man behind America’s leading e-commerce marketplace accepted that his expectations ruin company’s finance.

Andrew Mason was fired from the post in 2013. After him, co-founder Eric Lefkoksky took his place followed by Rich Williams. Now, Kedar Deshpande is the CEO of Groupon.

10. Co-Founder Of Tinder Fired Over Sexual Harassment Claim

tinder founder

Whitney Wolfe, founder of dating app Bumble, had filed a claim on Sean Rad( one of a founders of Tinder) that led to his dismissal.

What do you think about these founders who were fired and did their companies took right decision?

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