Google CEO Sundar Pichai defends his decision to lay off 12,000 workers

Google’s chief executive officer told employees on Monday that the job cuts are being made in a bid to act decisively as the company’s growth slows.

In an internal meeting, Sundar Pichai, who is the CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., said he consulted with the company’s founders and board in making the decision for the 6% cut, according to comments reviewed by Bloomberg.

“If you don’t act clearly and decisively and early, we can exacerbate the problem and make it worse,” Pichai said. “These are the decisions I have to make.”

Google said on Friday that it will eliminate about 12,000 jobs, becoming the latest tech giant to retrench after years of abundant growth and hiring. Although speculation about the cuts has swirled for months, the layoffs were nonetheless a shock to the system for some employees. Others realized they lost their jobs when they couldn’t access corporate systems. However, Pichai emphasized that the cuts were the product of careful consideration.

“The process is far from random,” he said.

The size of Google’s workforce forces executives to keep the circle of decision-makers relatively small, said Fiona Cicconi, Google’s chief people officer, at the employee meeting.

“In an ideal world, we would give managers a head, but we have over 30,000 managers at Google,” Cicconi said. “We want to provide reassurance as soon as possible.”

Another executive said severance packages are structured to reward workers who have been with the company for a long time.

Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat stressed at the meeting that the cuts are intended to free the company to continue investing in core priorities.

“Act early, and then you create the investment capacity for long-term growth,” Porat said. “As hard as it is, those are the takeaways.”

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