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Eileen Burbidge: Why I got fired by Skype

Sam Shead | Aug. 12, 2015
The venture capitalist believes there are two main reasons she was dismissed from Skype

"Niklas was extremely, extremely annoyed or disappointed by the lack of pace in me hiring. I came from Silicon Valley and because I have a high bar anyway I am extremely discerning and I want to hire only the best people. I didn't want to compromise by hiring what I thought were unqualified or mediocre people.

"From my point of view it felt like he just wanted bums on seats. From his point of view maybe it'll look like I didn't want to lose control, not wanting to delegate, not wanting to hire, maybe being resistant or simply just being difficult."

Burbidge describes the whole episode as a "bit unpleasant".

"I didn't want to be let go," she said. "I don't think Niklas liked the whole way it escalated. It didn't make anybody look good.

"The way I had to insist I got what I felt I was owed means I had lawyers."

Burbidge confirmed to Techworld that she secured 0.3 percent in stock options at Skype, which was sold to eBay in September 2005 for $2.6 billion (£1.68 billion) and eventually Microsoft in May 2011 for $11.5 billion (£7.43 billion). It's unclear how much Burbidge made on her Skype options as a result of the acquisitions.

Skype declined the opportunity to comment on this story.


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