The former Rangers gaffer narrowly avoided taking Villa down to the Championship, a year after Birmingham were relegated while he held the reins there.
And the uninspiring style of football Villa played did not improve the frosty relationship the Scot had with the fans due to him coming to the club from their deadly rivals.
After wielding the axe Lerner said in a statement: "We need to be clear and candid with ourselves and with supporters about what we have lacked in recent years.
"Compelling play and results that instil a sense of confidence that Villa are on the right track have been plainly absent.
"The most immediate action we can take is to look carefully at our options in terms of bringing in a new manager who sees the club's potential and embraces our collective expectations."
McLeish was fired less than 24 hours after a display even he admitted was "woeful" in a 2-0 defeat at Norwich.
Canaries boss Paul Lambert is expected to be amongst the leading candidates to take over at Villa Park.
Chief executive Paul Faulkner at a quick appointment.
Meanwhile, Joey Barton is facing a 10-match ban after the FA charged him with two counts of violent conduct following his sending-off in QPR's defeat to Manchester City.
Barton was sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez and then kicked Sergio Aguero before attempting to headbutt Vincent Kompany.