AOL Chief Backtracks, Under Fire, for 'Distressed Babies' Remark
Tim Armstrong, the chief executive officer of AOL, is at the center of a media firestorm after remarks at a company-wide town hall meeting in which he explained cuts in retirement benefits by saying employees with "distressed babies" had taxed the system and necessitated the cuts.
"Two things that happened in 2012," Armstrong said. "We had two AOL-ers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid a million dollars each to make sure those babies were OK in general. And those are the things that add up into our benefits cost. So when we had the final decision about what benefits to cut because of the increased healthcare costs, we made the decision, and I made the decision, to basically change the 401(k) plan."
Twitter, Facebook, and blogs lit up with comments and outrage over the comment, and Monday Armstrong reversed course and says he will not pursue the 401(k) plan that had gotten employees so upset in the first place because it proposed annual payments to retirees, as opposed to payments throughout the year.
"I made a mistake," Time.com reports that Armstrong wrote in a note to employees on Saturday. "I apologize for my comments last week at the town hall when I mentioned specific health care examples in trying to explain our decision-making process around our employee benefit programs."