Todd Bloom on getting fired

Todd Bloom remembers the day he got canned from his executive position as vice president of marketing for American Isuzu Motors Inc. Bloom had worked for Isuzu for 13 years, but there was new leadership at the top, which meant it was time for Bloom, now chief executive of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc., to go. "My assistant who got promoted above me was told by the Japanese bosses to fire me," Bloom told me during our Leadership Agenda interview published in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"He literally was shaking the day he called me in," Bloom said. "He’s a great guy. He’s one of my best friends. It’s not personal. 

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"I have a certain passion and a certain drive that I bring to whatever I do in life.  I have enough confidence and belief in my ability to direct an operation and to lead people so that at the end of the day, all that you can do is the best job you possibly can," he said. "And if, some day, a board of directors -- there are five people who sit on my board – and at any point that three of them decide they don’t want me to do this job, they can ask me to leave. They can fire me. And I don’t worry about it. Why? Because every day I do the best possible job I can and I ask the same thing of the people who work for me.

"In any business, to be head of marketing for 13 years is unheard of," Bloom said. "I had headhunters who would call me after four or five years and say `Todd, you are on borrowed time.' Nobody is a vice president of marketing position for more than four or five years. In fact, when there’s a new company president – the first thing he wants to change, whether he’s doing a good job or a bad job, is the marketing guy. Why? Because the CEO wants to create an image and a brand based on his philosophy."

Even so, Bloom survived a couple of changes at the top -- until he didn't.

"First of all, the day I got fired, or let go, or transitioned or whatever you want to call it, I shook the hand of every single person in that company. I thanked them for 13 fabulous, wonderful years. I did things. I went places. I did product launches. I became such a great person for those 13 years. How could I think anything but what a wonderful experience that was? Even today, people say to me, you must hate them. I don’t hate them. In fact, if I hadn’t lost that job, I wouldn’t have become president and CEO of this company."

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