The resignation letter of Groupon CEO Andy Mason is not the first to cause a stir. Many disgruntled workers have used their final days to issue a parting shot to their colleagues, an apology for their incompetency, or even an exposé of their firm’s inner workings.
Here are a few examples:
In 2011, Daily Star proprietor Richard Desmond was confronted with the resignation letter of one of the paper’s lowly freelance reporters. It was not polite. He criticised the tabloid’s penchant for hate-mongering, and admitted to making up stories under pressure, including “Michael Jackson to attend Jade Goody’s funeral” and “Matt Lucas on suicide watch”.
In a piece published in the New York Times, Goldman Sachs executive director Greg Smith lambasted a “toxic and destructive” culture in which the needs of the company were forever placed above those of the clients. He wrote a book based on his experiences, and claimed while promoting it that he should have worn “cowboy boots” on arriving at the firm’s UK branch because “London really was the Wild West”.
Whole Foods employee
A worker at Toronto’s Whole Foods supermarket fired off a stinging missive to his fellow staff, attacking the holier-than-thou chain’s apparent hypocrisy and describing it as a “faux hippy Wal-Mart”. He said the food was “really quite awful” and accused the company of ordering surplus food so that shelves looked attractive in the full knowledge that a great deal of it would be thrown away.
Sir Geoffrey Howe
Margaret Thatcher’s Deputy Prime Minister delivered an incendiary resignation speech in the Commons in 1990. Sir Geoffrey was enraged by the Iron Lady’s cavalier attitude towards the European Monetary System and her take-no-prisoners leadership style. He worried that the UK might lose its influence, saying: “It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find, the moment the first balls are bowled, that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain.” Thatcher resigned nine days later.
The former CEO of Sun Microsystems, the computer firm behind the Java programming language, resigned with a poetic tweet in 2010. “Today’s my last day at Sun. I’ll miss it. Seems only fitting to end on a haiku,” he wrote. The poem was simple and effective: “Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more.”
Never heard of him? Few had, until last year when his resignation letter went viral. He said his boss at the UK-based media agency MEC made jokes about the “Spastic Olympics”, claimed “not to have a drop of Jewish blood in him” and had “sexual relations” with a female colleague in the “meeting rooms on the third floor”. The allegations were denied.