CEO savaged after teary LinkedIn photo he posted when he laid off staff says sorry

11 August 2022, 13:09

Branden Wallake was criticised for his LinkedIn post
Branden Wallake was criticised for his LinkedIn post. Picture: LinkedIn/Braden Wallake

By Will Taylor

A CEO who was mocked for posting a photo of himself crying as he explained how he had to lay them off has apologised about how it came across.

HyperSocial CEO Braden Wallake had posted the tearful selfie to LinkedIn as he opened up about how the lay-offs were "my fault" and described the post as his "most vulnerable thing" he would share.

But he was savaged across social media as he was accused of making the employees' loss of their jobs about him and portraying himself as suffering too.

"This will be the most vulnerable thing I'll ever share," he posted earlier this week.

"I've gone back and forth whether to post this or not. We just had to layoff a few of our employees. I've seen a lot of layoffs over the last few weeks on LinkedIn. Most of those are due to the economy, or whatever other reason.

"Ours? My fault. I made a decision in February and stuck with that decision for far too long.

"Now, I know my team will say that "we made that decision together", but I lead us into it.

"And because of those failings, I had to do today, the toughest thing I've ever had to do."

He said he wanted people to see "not every CEO out there is cold-hearted" and that he hoped his staff knew he loved them, adding that he could not think of a "lower moment" than this.

Some social media users asked why Mr Wallake did not use his platform to promote the staff he laid off for future jobs.

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Others criticised him for describing the impact it has on the head of a company as his former employees face joblessness and accused him of "crocodile tears".

In a new LinkedIn post, the head of the marketing firm based in Ohio addressed the criticism.

Mr Wallake said: "Hey everyone, yes, I am the crying CEO. No, my intent was not to make it about me or victimise myself. I am sorry it came across that way.

Mr Wallake was criticised online
Mr Wallake was criticised online. Picture: LinkedIn/Braden Wallake

"It was not my place to out the employees' names publicly.

"What I want to do now, is try to make better of this situation and start a thread for people looking for work.

"Here it is - comment away. This is for YOU to start a new future. To highlight YOU.

"People seeking new work: Post your resume, desired job title, qualifications.

"Employers: here’s an opportunity to hire amazing people."

His LinkedIn profile says his goal is to make "business-to-business marketing and sales campaigns fun AND effective" and "there's a way to make connections and closing leads fun and that's where we come in".