Executives Joining in the Act of Social Networking Faux Pas
It seems senior executives are as apt to participate in inappropriate sharing through social media as their underlings. In fact, given that social media is everywhere and here to stay, it is easy to see how no one is truly safe from being scrutinized for careless comments made on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform. A case in point involves Gene Morphis, the former CFO of retail chain Francesca’s Holdings Corp.
Morphis was terminated for using social media to communicate company information inappropriately and expressing unflattering opinions about corporate events and individuals. His “crimes” gained national fame and rose through the ranks to be published as a story in the Wall Street Journal. The paper printed several of Morphis’ offending remarks which included:
In a Tweet: “Dinner w/Board tonite. Used to be fun. Now one must be on guard every second.” Dinner must have gone OK, because the next day he wrote, “Board meeting. Good numbers=Happy Board.”
And in a Facebook status update regarding company earnings: “Earnings released. Conference call completed. How do you like me now Mr. Shorty?”
After presenting at a meeting for investors he posted: “Roadshow completed. Sold $275 million of secondary shares. Earned my pay this week.”
Once an unknown source brought Morphis’ posts to the attention of his company an investigation was held, which culminated in his termination. The case serves to emphasize the growing presence of corporate social media policy, most of which include a right to monitor social media usage. The moral of the story here is that if you make damaging comments regarding your employer on social media (or in any public forum), you can, and probably will, be fired.