Yes, because companies certainly don't fire executives whose profits go down during down economies.
Except for the fact that they do, all the time, and they have been doing so quite a bit during this recession, too (which is why I got a new boss a few months ago, since the old boss got fired for not bringing up profits enough, even in a down economy), because companies believe, and correctly so, that the only way to get out of a down economy is to stop losing money.
The comic industry as a whole was seriously hurting at the end of the '90s, thanks to the boom-and-bust of both the speculators' market and the dot-com industry, and Marvel in particular was hurting for reasons that had nothing to do with its editorial content, thanks to Ron Perelman LITERALLY BANKRUPTING them, and moreover, Marvel was still doing about as well against DC as it's doing now, but that didn't stop Harras from getting fired, because according to HIS bosses, he should have been able to turn the success of the first Blade and X-Men films into sales success for the publishing wing.
How many runaway blockbuster RECORD-BREAKING movie hits has Marvel had since then? How much mainstream acceptance has the comics industry as a WHOLE gained since then? Even people who don't even LIKE superhero comics now consider them a creative and commercial juggernaut to be capitalized on, and until very, VERY recently, Watchmen - a 22-year-old graphic novel, starring characters that nobody outside of comics fandom had ever heard of - managed to top the NON-comic book bestseller charts for A FULL YEAR, which is well outside what you'd expect for a tie-in to even a WILDLY POPULAR movie, which the movie version of Watchmen was NOT.
Superhero comics were a fucking GHETTO in the late '90s, and in very real terms, the industry was all but DEAD ON ITS FEET. Now? Now, superhero comics are part of the LINGUA FRANCA of nerd dominance of popular culture - even THE GODDAMN PRESIDENT is a Spider-Man fan now - and yet, they're STILL clocking Harras-level sales.
Tell me that people don't want to read superhero comics, and I'll throw Watchmen in your face. Tell me that they're not willing to go to comic stores to buy them, and I'll throw the Obama issue of Amazing Spider-Man in your face, which is STILL selling a few thousand NEW REPRINT copies each month, in spite of the fact that all the following issues' sales have continued to go down. Tell me that kids today just aren't into reading as much, and I'll throw Harry Potter and Twilight at you. Tell me that superhero comics don't have enough mainstream media exposure, and I'll throw the latest SDCC, Colbert's constant Marvel references, Quesada's countless mainstream media news interviews, and the RECORD-BREAKING box office of the Spider-Man movies at you.
Even in a down economy, THERE IS NO EXCUSE for comic sales to be anywhere NEAR what they were in Harras' era, because the modern era has all sorts of built-in advantages that Harras couldn't have hoped for even if he'd sold his soul to Mephisto, and guess what? HARRAS STILL GOT FIRED.
You say "it's the recession" as though that will SAFEGUARD Quesada, or ANYONE, from getting fired, but the fact that it IS a recession makes it MORE likely that ANYONE can get fired, not LESS. Speaking as someone who's working in a down industry in a down economy, I'm here to tell you that that's what a recession means.