ADT Employees Protest ADT CEO

By IPVM Team, Published Aug 10, 2018, 08:58am EDT

So many ADT employees were so upset with ADT's CEO speech reported on by IPVM, that ADT's CEO was forced to send a mass email to employees to attempt to quell the protests.

In the speech, ADT's CEO Tim Whall argues that his daughters are better at installs than his 20-year veteran techs: 

This triggered viral social media sharing via IPVM's Facebook page and the subsequent ADT CEO email.

In this note, we:

  • Review the ADT employee's grievances
  • Share ADT's CEO email
  • Examine the competitive challenges ADT faces here
  • Explore the risks that social media poses for ADT and alarm companies

ADT ******** **********

***** ** * ********* of *** ******** ********** collated ** ****:

**********, *** ****** ***** was ********* ******** **** Whall *** *************** *** continued ***** ** ********* skills.

CEO *****

***'* *** **** *** email ***** ***, ***** it ******** ** ******* the ***** **** ****** as ***** *** ** context, ********** *** **** concerns ********* * *********** to **** **** *****:

*** ***** **** *** apologize *** ********* ***'* veteran ********* ** *** (presumably) ***-******** ******** ********, ***** we ******* ** *********** and ***** **** ******. Reasonable ****** *** ********** mistakes *** ****** ********** when ******** ** ****** extemporaneously.

Competitive ********** ***

*** **** ********* **** ADT ***** ** *** rise ** *** *** its ****** ** *** both ******** *********** *** ***** points. ** **** ***, this ******** *********** *** **** secondary, ****** ** ** not. ***'* *********** **** advantage ******* ****** **** Google *** ****** ** ADT's *****, ******* ***** workforce **** *** ** into ********'* ****** *** provide **** ***** ******* that ******** ****** ****** (or ** ***** **** not *** ******** **).

*** ***** *** ***** technicians ** ** ******* and *****, * ****** competitive ********* ****** *** strong ****** *** *** prices **** ***** ****** are *********.

Social ***** *****

**** ******* *********** *** risk **** ****** ***** poses *** ***** ************ like ***. **********, **** video *** ****** ** a******** **** **** ****, *** ***** ****'* limited ******** ** *** residential ******, ** **** little ****. ********, ** decided ** **** ** to *** ******** **** as ** ******* **** ADT *** ****** ********* were ********* ****** ** Facebook. ***'* *** ***** quickly **** *****, **** 10,000+ ***** ***** ** a ****, ***+ ******, led ** ********** *** employees *** **-*********.

Up ****

** ****, ** **** to ***** **** ** ADT ********* *** **** to **** **** ***** and ***'* *** ******* that **** ******* *********** concerns. 

Comments (17)

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I have two comments to this: one is that I agree with the logic behind his statement, and two is that was one of the worst statements I've heard a CEO publicly make.

 

Intrusion systems have not evolved much in 30 years outside of communication methods. It's a stale technology, and with the marketing pushed out by ADT to promote a cheap install with high RMR for a cookie cutter system they cut the floor out for independent skilled intrusion companies. ADT was to intrusion what Hikvision was to IPCCTV which high quantity, low quality tactics.

 

The systems have just streamlinesd into all-in-one lick-and-stick components. The true Brinks used to have technicians that could do amazing fishing to run hardwire components where they actually needed to be to deliver a competent system, but companies like this we're chipped away by lower and lower market acceptable prices. Now it's all about subbing out tickets to guys that can double side sticky some contacts to a door. Where's the skill involved in that?

...did not include the full context of my remarks...

To this point, is there any additional footage available?

The existing clip seems long enough to show that it was more than just an extemporaneous statement, but rather a planned bit in furtherance of his conception. 

Still it would be interesting to see what other tidbits he had to offer.   

Sure, here are 2 other clips embedded:

(0:33) Good! Cuz I’m gonna be kickin’ you in the teeth all damn day long, Chief!

Note: You shouldn’t call people Chief, unless they’re the AHJ.

That's not what I've ever call an AHJ🤣

I can't say I've ever called anyone chief in my life. (I do like using Chief mounts though) I also can't recall ever saying things like bossman either. It's never felt natural. Along the lines of what Clint said, I've always thought minimal and professional dialogue was best with an AHJ. I'm not sure chief fits that.

I also can't recall ever saying things like bossman either.

That’s prolly ‘cuz y’all Yankees!

But, if you ever find yourself down Broward County way, I’d reckon y’oud do yourself a favor by addressing the local epauletted figures as Chief or Cap, as you see fit :)

It does seem a little like there was some context left off the beginning - it's pretty clear that he's talking about how much more important customer interaction skills are now. He's not saying his daughters are necessarily better at the technical job of installing systems, just that the job has changed and is now nearly as interpersonal as it is technical.

But, there's another big alarm bell with this guy - count the number of first person pronouns. He uses 'I' and 'me' when he means ADT - he could use 'we' and 'us' and not only would it be more clear that he's talking about the company, it would sound like he sees the employees as a team and integral to the company's success.  But, he doesn't see it that way, it's all about him.  Then when he starts talking about customer expectations, he switches sides and continues to use first person singular pronouns in describing customer expectations - sure, switching to third person has negative connotations as well, 'THEY want us to...' but he can call them what they are - 'our customers'. He's just very comfortable talking about himself.

Ah well, guess I should hold my criticism until I'm CEO of a company as large as ADT.

One other theory I have, and it is just theory, I have not spoken to ADT about this but I think the audience and atmosphere may have influenced his take.

This speech was given at the Barnes Buchanan Conference. For those who have never gone, it costs ~$1,500 to attend and it is held at a ~$600 per night hotel (The Breakers). The average income of people who attend this event is easily 5x what an ADT tech makes. While there is no special qualification to attend (outside of being willing to spend the money), it is a room of primarily industry executives and financiers. Maybe he never thought his remarks would make it back to his techs or maybe he does not really feel that way and he was just playing to a crowd of rich people. I don't know.

Reminds me of when Mitt Romney said this to a bunch of rich donors:  

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

 

It's no longer about knowing your audience but also knowing whether or not the statements you make will come back to haunt you later.

Based on the video quality and low audio, I doubt he realized he was being recorded and probably didn't think it would ever get shared. One should have stopped thinking that way a long time ago. It seems at every event, there is someone there to record it. It's too easy to take out a camera (phone) that you almost always have on you and press record.

I've done some subcontracting where they wanted not just pictures of the install but video verification of system operation. Years ago this would have been much more difficult.

I just don't understand why so many companies just install the wireless systems. In a new home build, you have the perfect opportunity to prewire. In an existing home with a previous alarm and complete wiring, why not install an appropriate wired system instead of putting a wireless system in? I can't stand the wireless door contacts that are surface mount. I prefer not to see the contacts on residential.

I think wireless systems have their place. Mostly this place would be retrofit where running cable would be very expensive and time consuming. Often times it's hard enough to get camera cable to the desired location.

Give him a break (Tim Whall)! He has already been beat up and heavily bruised by wall street. Remember, the Apollo/ADT IPO was reported as the worse preforming billion dollar IPO in last 10 years. ADT stock price has been in single digits, a fraction of expectations. Apollo and ADT management tried to outsmart wall street by dumping the rotting carcass before became smelly..... bad timing!  He is not in a good mood, so give him a break.

Yeah and now he has an army of ambulance chasers after him to boot 

I wonder how the folks at Access Systems Integration based in Eatontown NJ feel about this?  They were just acquired by ADT.  I wonder why IPVM didn't report on ADT's new acquisition.  Too bad for those guys, they are now under the leadership of an ***clown.

I wonder why IPVM didn't report on ADT's new acquisition.

We generally do not report on regional integrator acquisitions as they tend not to have a large enough industry impact to justify covering. We did cover one ADT integrator acquisition - ADT / ASG 'Merger' Acquisition - mainly because the integrator being acquired announced it before ADT officially did it claiming it was a 'merger' when it was not.

If you ever been in the ADT grinder, you would realize that it is not an alarm company, it is a management bonus company. Everything is about numbers ,real and fake, to keep the dollars rolling in.

Been through the ADT system 3 times, all by purchase plan.

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