Frontier Bank’s president John Dickson was fired this week by CEO Pat Fahey because he went on vacation. Really.

The bank is in deep trouble and has until April 15th to get better or sell. CEO Fahey was angered that President Dickson took a planned vacation with his family to Hawaii when the bank was in such crisis. In his words, “it was not the appropriate time for either of the two leaders to be gone.” Dickson countered that he was always available by phone and e-mail. Dickson is actually the son of the founder of Frontier Bank.

Read the story from the Puget Sound Business Journal

Here are my thoughts:

  1. If Dickson was as accessible as he said he was by phone, internet connection, and being able to fly back for an investor, then what difference did it make? Business is now done globally, 24/7, wherever you are. Did he have to be physically in the bank? I don’t think he did.
  2. Fahey may argue that from a morale standpoint, he did. But, let’s be serious. The employees have nothing to do with this. It’s about investors. As long as he could do whatever it took to raise capital, who cares where he is?
  3. Does it look any better to investors or customers that the CEO fired the president two weeks before the deadline? Does that help morale? Does that get you closer to making a sale? My guess is no.

Certainly, in an era where bank executives are being scrutinized every which way, Dickson could have opted for a different time. Certainly, Fahey is hunkering down and wanted all hands on deck. He most assuredly requested Dickson not leave. Dickson defied that and it was his undoing. I’m thinking there has been more to this story than this one episode.

If you were the CEO, what would you have done?

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved