Would firing a CTO in the middle of fundraising be disastrous?

Before I start, I know I should have done this earlier… (Mark Suster’s “hire fast fire fast” is ringing in my ears – trust me!) but my CTO needs to go. He’s incapable of leading, coaching, innovating and staying on top of all of the issues and features we need to fix and ship. He’s strong technically but that’s only part of the job.

What I’ve realized is that his weaknesses have been dragging me in to fight fires to the detriment of the overall business. It’s been building for some time and at first I felt it was because other members we’re not performing – but now it’s clear he’s the weak link. It took me too long to realize this…

Now I have to act. So do I keep him onboard through fundraising and move him out after or get rid of him now? Preference for the latter. I feel we need a change to get us realigned and make us tighter but fear we’ll never raise with such a drastic event happening at a critical time.

But with no cash to hire another and no partner / funding momentum to entice them in, it will be hard to find a strong replacement.

Plan B is to try and close a round and sort this out then. Not a fan of this for hundreds of reasons but also need to keep the business going as I believe we are onto something interesting here and have a number of deals in the pipeline that will move things forward quickly.

Would appreciate some perspective on this. Thanks.

  • What kind of person is he? If he’s capable of doing nasty things after being fired, try to find a walkaround. You or someone from your team should take some of his responsibilities in which he’s not good at. This might be difficult for you, but it’s better than status quo or worse – not having anyone as CTO. Besides – what’s wrong with him exactly? How is he not able to innovate, or to lead? It sounds like he’s good only in technical fields, not able to work well on other levels. This doesn’t mean he’s the source of all bad things that happen to your company. Maybe your expectations exceed his abilities? I don’t know, but as long as he has to stay, get most out of him.

  • it seems it’s as much as your fault as his. Why don’t both of you go back and get a real job and some work and life experience for a few years and then try again?

  • Fire him. I’ve done exactly this. As tough a decision it was to make it had a very good outcome for the company.

  • It sounds like you’re pinning a lot of the blame on him. How long has the company been around? Are you two the original founders? Does he know you expect him to lead and innovate (??) as you’ve indicated? There are plenty of successful technical-only CTOs.

  • Does he have to be in leadership? Ask him if he likes to lead. If he says no then ask him to step down and let him work on just building the product. You can always find a manager, hard to find a developer.

  • It seems that you only be focus of him.
    You should see the “problem” sooner and have a lot of dicussions with him.
    If you realise this only know and think that you can fire him, maybe if I had to invest on your company, I will fire you because of the weakness and the slow of your jugement.

  • This post has a blog like tone to it. I don’t know Jack but I can say that many times you can misplace blame. You might be married to the problem.

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