Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

More Layoffs for Google: 200 Axed From Sales

Google is laying off 200 people from its sales and marketing group, the company announced today in a blog post, confirming an earlier Gawker/Valleywag report.

Google (GOOG) has some 20,000 employees, so the scale of the sackings isn’t earth-shaking news. And these aren’t Google’s first cuts: In January the company got rid of 100 recruiters. In February it announced it could cut up to 40 jobs as it folded up its radio group.

But the fact that these cuts come from sales and marketing, which just lost its high-profile leader, Tim Armstrong, to Time Warner’s (TWX) AOL and replaced him with Google veteran Dennis Woodside, is interesting. As is SVP Omid Kordestani’s note explaining the cuts, in which he says Google simply made hiring mistakes as it grew its sales group.

Here’s the complete text of Kordestani’s post:

Google has grown very quickly in a very short period of time. When companies grow that quickly it’s almost impossible to get everything right–and we certainly didn’t. In some areas we’ve created overlapping organizations which not only duplicate effort but also complicate the decision-making process. That makes our teams less effective and efficient than they should be. In addition, we over-invested in some areas in preparation for the growth trends we were experiencing at the time.

So today we have informed Googlers that we plan to reduce the number of roles within our sales and marketing organizations by just under 200 globally. Making changes of this kind is never easy–and we recognize that the recession makes the timing even more difficult for the Googlers concerned. We did look at a number of different options but ultimately concluded that we had to restructure our organizations in order to improve our effectiveness and efficiency as a business. We will give each person time to try and find another position at Google, as well as outplacement support, and provide severance packages for those who leave the company. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone affected for all they have contributed to Google.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work