Charlie Gasparino was perhaps the best on air reporter at CNBC.
Gasparino had been in talks for months with CNBC executives. Even as late as Friday, CNBC executives were trying to find a way to keep Gasparino on in some capacity, according to a person familiar with the matter.
We understand that the contract was terminated under mutual agreement.
Gasparino’s aggressive reporting style sometimes flowed into his relationships with co-workers and bosses at the network, ruffling feathers and alienating people, according to people familiar with the situation inside of CNBC.
Gasparino broke a number of major stories during the financial crisis, including market moving stories on credit insurer Ambac and Bear Stearns. He was at the forefront of reporting on stories about Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.
The words of Steel gave no indication that CNBC was anything but pleased with Gasparino.
“We thank Charles for all his quality contributions and wish him the best,” said Steel.
A CNBC insider said that many at the network admired Gasparino’s reporting and top executives were pleased with his performance.
But others close to the matter say that Gasparino definitely rubbed some of his colleagues the wrong way.
“I think the key here is that Charlie is an aggressive reporter and a colleague. Some of the energy that drives him to be an aggressive reporter can make him difficult to work with,” one person familiar with the situation said.
“He’s a very aggressive reporter. I think that act grows a little thin when you work with him day in and day out,” another person said. “He’s a double edged sword. People at the network might have grown tired of getting cut.”
Two people we spoke with said that they think Gasparino might have been dissatisfied with his contractual arrangements with CNBC.
“Charlie felt like he was over-producing during the crisis. He felt like there could have been better recognition of his role,” a person familiar with the matter said. “He signed his contract before the crisis. He was like a pitcher who signs up then throws a bunch of no-hitters.”
“He wanted to do his book thing,” another person said. Gasparino is reportedly working on a new book. His last, The Sellout, made it on to the New York Times bestseller list.
Another person said Gasparino appeared to be “itching to do more.”
Gasparino’s sometimes fiery relationship with some of his colleagues was hardly a secret to regular CNBC viewers. He once had a couple of very weird and angry exchanges with Dylan Ratigan revolving around the phrase, “Charlie: what you got?” (Any hard feelings didn’t last long, apparently. After Dylan left CNBC for MSNBC, Charlie was invited to promote The Sellout on Dylan’s show. But CNBC barred him from appearing.)
We asked people at CNBC if there was anything else that might explain his hasty exit. Everyone we spoke to said they doubted it was anything more to the story.
“There are no secrets with Charlie. It all spills out on the air,” one person said.
Charlie Gasparino did not respond to requests for comment.