Sundar Pichai opens up on Google’s biggest layoff: ‘Could have done differently’

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has opened up about the 12,000 employee layoff the tach giant had undertaken last year. Alphabet cut jobs of around 12,000 employees in 2022, making it the biggest ever layoff in the history of the company.

Sundar Pichai during an all-hands meeting “defended” to his employees the decision to cut six per cent of the jobs in Alphabet in 2022. 

“That was clear at Google‘s latest all-hands meeting on Tuesday (December 12), where CEO Sundar Pichai defended the decision to cut 6% of the company’s workforce,” said a Business Insider report, quoting an audio obtained from the meeting.

An employee asked Sundar Pichai during the meeting, “It has been almost 1 year since we made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce. What impact did this decision have on our growth, P&L, and morale?”

The Google CEO responded by saying that there has been a big impact on the morale of the employees, terming it as one of the “most difficult decisions for the company”. He said, “At Google, we really haven’t had a moment quite like that in 25 years.”

Sundar Pichai termed the decision “difficult but necessary”. The Alphabet CEO said that if the company hadn’t cut those jobs last year, it would have been “a worse decision down the line.”

“It would have been a major overhang on the company. I think it would have made it very difficult in a year like this with such a big shift in the world to create the capacity to invest in areas,” the Google CEO said.

While Sundar Pichai defended the decision to cut 12,000 jobs in Google, he said that it was a “bad idea” to cut the immediate access of all the laid-off personnel and to inform all the fired employees at the same time, regardless of the time zone.

“Clearly, it’s not the right way to do it. I think it’s something we could have done differently for sure,” Sundar Pichai said.

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Published: 15 Dec 2023, 10:33 PM IST