Twilio CEO Says Recent Layoffs Were Conducted Through an ‘Anti-Racist’ Lens

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Last Updated on September 22, 2022

Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson told employees last week that the company would be laying off 11% of its workforce. Lawson said that layoff decisions were made through an “anti-racist” and “anti-oppression” lens, meaning that white employees were laid off before their nonwhite peers. Losing one’s job has a particularly devastating effect on “marginalized communities,” Lawson wrote in a statement announcing the downsizing.

The San Francisco-based corporate communications company CEO said in the message to employees that the layoffs are “wise and necessary.”

“I’m not going to sugarcoat things. A layoff is the last thing we want to do, but I believe it’s wise and necessary,” Lawson told employees. 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.”

In deterring which staff members would be let go, Lawson said that executives first examined which roles were most integral to fulfilling the company’s main priorities. The tech CEO ensured employees that the firings were conducted with an “anti-racist” frame, however.

“As you all know, we are committed to becoming an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression company,” Lawson wrote. “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.”

Laid-off employees will receive “at least” 12 weeks of pay, as well as an additional week per year of tenure with the company. They will also receive the full value of Twilio’s next stock vest.

“I am deeply sorry to see you all leave Twilio. You have all been part of building our company. You’ve been our teammates, partners, and friends. I’m grateful for your contributions to our customers and our business. And we owe it to you to help as much as we can,” Lawson wrote in his statement.

Lawson said that the layoffs were necessary as Twilio aims to be a profitable growth company. The company had 7,867 employees as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to its December annual report.

In the past year, Twilio shares have declined in value by over 78%, Fox Business reported.

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