AOL CEO regrets'distressed babies' remark; reverses retirement plan

Sun Feb 9, 2014 10:23am EST

Feb 9 (Reuters) - AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong reversed his decision to cut employee retirement benefits and apologized for remarks linking two women at the company with "distressed babies" to its rising health care costs that set off a fire storm of criticism.

Armstrong issued a memo to staffers on Saturday explaining the company would change its 401(k) policy back to matching contributions on per-period basis rather than one lump sum at the end of the year.

"On a personal note, I made a mistake and I apologize for my comments last week at the town hall when I mentioned specific healthcare examples in trying to explain our decision making process around our employee benefit programs," Armstrong wrote in a memo obtained by Reuters.

AOL declined to comment.

In a town hall meeting last week where Armstrong sought to clarify why the company cut its employee retirement plan, he singled out two unnamed women who had babies with health problems and the impact of President Obama's health care reforms for adding millions of dollars to AOL's bill.

The comment sparked a media backlash and overshadowed AOL's fourth quarter results, after the online media and entertainment company reported its best growth in a decade.

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