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CEO announces 11% cut to staff, promises 'anti-racist' layoffs

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Photo by Joan Cros Garcia/Corbis via Getty Images

On Wednesday, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson issued a company-wide email announcing the reduction of staff by 11%. Lawson assured employees that the company would make firing decisions through an "Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens."

Founded in 2008, Twilio is a customer engagement software company. As of 2021, the company reportedly employed 7,867 staffers, according to CNBC. An 11% reduction in staff would mean job losses for over 800 Twilio employees, also referred to as "Twilions."

Co-founder and CEO Jeff Lawson's email announced the company's need to restructure and scale back staff to increase profitability. Lawson said that he takes responsibility for scaling up the business too quickly.

He called the decision to lay off staff "extremely difficult" but necessary to realign with Twilio's four priorities, including "investing in our platform reliability and trust, increasing the profitability of messaging, accelerating Segment adoption, and scaling the Flex customer base."

"Twilio has grown at an astonishing rate over the past couple years. It was too fast, and without enough focus on our most important company priorities. I take responsibility for those decisions, as well as the difficult decision to do this layoff," Lawson's email read.

The CEO addressed how Twilio has determined which staff to let go and stated the company implemented "a rigorous selection process to examine which roles were most tightly aligned to our four priorities."

"As you all know, we are committed to becoming an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression company. Layoffs like this can have a more pronounced impact on marginalized communities, so we were particularly focused on ensuring our layoffs – while a business necessity today – were carried out through an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens," the email read.

Twilio employees who lost their positions in this round of layoffs will receive minimally 12 weeks of pay and a week of pay for every year they have been with the company. In addition, they will also receive the full value of the company's next stock vesting.

Lawson concluded, "I am confident that we'll look back at this as a difficult time – but one that set up Twilio well for the future."

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