John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Guess We Forgot to Delete the “Out” From "Without" in Your Termination Letter

Former Motorola CFO Paul Liska thought he’d been let go because the company was postponing the spinoff of its cellphone unit. Imagine his surprise when he read in Crain’s Chicago Business that he’d actually been fired for cause.

In a recent SEC filing, Motorola (MOT) said Liska was “involuntarily terminated for cause” and therefore must repay his $400,000 signing bonus and forfeit the stock options he received when he signed on with the company.

An odd disclosure, given the way in which Motorola’s leadership handled Liska’s departure. Asked about the circumstances surrounding his exit on a Feb. 9 earnings call, Motorola co-CEO Greg Brown had this to say:

“[Paul] did a lot of good work here and helped us get a lot of the heavy lifting done around this separation and preparation for separation which–as we talked about–remains the commitment to our strategy going forward and he was also very helpful in getting after along with the businesses and the other leaders in the organization, cost reduction initiatives. That said, I think the business environment’s changed, and given the environmental changes, we thought the change was appropriate at this time as well in that position.”

If that was the case, why was he fired for cause, which Motorola defines as–among other things–“willful and continued failure to substantially perform duties” and “gross misconduct”?

We may soon find out. Liska has reportedly filed suit against Motorola for wrongful termination.

[Image credit: Someecards]

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald