ENTER NOW: Win $600 on CBS 6 This Morning starting Monday

AOL CEO: Firing employee for taking a photo was a mistake

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CEO Tim Armstrong says on May 9, 2012 that the latest financial results for AOL show that it is in better shape than it was a year ago.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told employees Tuesday that he’s sorry for publicly firing an employee for taking a photo during a conference call. But the guy is still fired.

On Friday, Armstrong was leading a conference call to discuss the future of AOL’s hyper-local news network called Patch. The creative director of Patch, Abel Lenz, reportedly tried to take a photo, and Armstrong fired him on the spot — and everyone on the call overheard.

CNNMoney obtained a memo Armstrong sent to employees on Tuesday, in which the CEO said the public manner of Lenz’s firing was a “mistake.” Business Insider was the first to post the memo.

“It was an emotional response at the start of a difficult discussion dealing with many people’s careers and livelihoods,” Armstrong wrote. AOL is considering cutting the number of sites to 600 from 900, which will likely mean a few hundred Patch employees will be let go.

“[A]t a human level it was unfair to Abel,” Armstrong wrote, adding that he apologized to Lenz personally “for the way the matter was handled.”

But Lenz is still out of a job. Armstrong said he had previously been warned not to record confidential meetings so that employees can feel free to speak openly.

Patch, which Armstrong co-founded in 2007, has long been a struggle for AOL to monetize. AOL acquired Patch for a reported $7 million when Armstrong became CEO in 2009,and the company has since invested millions more into the venture, hoping that a hyper-local focus will help AOL regain consumer interest. AOL had already reduced Patch-related costs by 25% this year.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.