Patch lays off hundreds over the phone
Rather than notifying hundreds of employees individually, Patch laid off hundreds of employees over a conference call, according to SFGate. Many have referred to the call as impersonal and written much like a dry press release.
Hundreds of Patch editors were cut, leaving only a few hundred employees that will maintain over 900 hyper-local sites, according to the New York Times. Although an efficient way to lay off hundreds, it has to be hurtful to staff, particularly those who have been with the company through tough times.
This isn’t the first time AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong has opted to fire staff over the phone, catching heat for hastily firing an employee during a conference call last year, so some people are saying they are less than surprised.
The transcript has gone live
Blogger Jim Romenesko published a transcript on his blog wherein Patch Chief Operating Officer, Leigh Zarelli Lewis stated, “Patch is being restructured in connection with the creation of a joint venture with Hale Global. Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not. Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated and you will no longer have a role at Patch and today will be your last day of employment with the company.”
AOL investors were told that Patch would become profitable in 2013, but when that didn’t happen, the majority stake of the company was sold to Hale Global, and weeks later, the company has laid off hundreds. Further reorganization efforts remain to be unseen.
As recently as December, Armstrong made positive statements regarding Path’s future, citing their traffic as higher than many traditional media competitors, but perhaps this was part of an effort to sell the brand.