SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The CEO of a tech company based in San Francisco has posted an apology letter after she quoted Martin Luther King Junior in a layoff letter sent to employees last week.
PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada sent the letter to employees announcing layoffs on Thursday, and it was later posted to the company’s website. In the letter, Tejada begins by listing out economic conditions which have led to the layoffs, before taking space to discuss the company’s successes.
Tejada goes on to describe how PagerDuty’s business model is still strong despite the economic conditions, “While demand for our products and services remains stable and our strategy to help our customers transform their operations remains relevant and intact, it is taking longer to convert than prior years.”
The announcement of the layoffs does not begin until the seventh paragraph, and the word layoff is nowhere to be found. Tejada instead refers to the layoffs as one of a list of company “refinements” that aim to strengthen the company moving forward. The first refinement PagerDuty plans to implement is eliminating about 7% of global roles.
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Tejada clarified that most of the job losses would take place in North America, in the “go-to-market and G&A [sic General & Administrative] organizations.” Towards the end of the letter, Tejada closed with the words of Martin Luther King Jr.
None of this would be possible without you, our leadership, and our board — thank you for your grit and resilience, your commitment to our customers and your support of our values and people. I am reminded in moments like this, of something Martin Luther King said, that “the ultimate measure of a [leader] is not where [they] stand in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where [they] stand in times of challenge and controversy.” PagerDuty is a leader that stands behind its customers, its values, and our vision — for an equitable world where we transform critical work so all teams can delight their customers and build trust.Jennifer Tejada, CEO of PagerDuty
After facing negative feedback, Tejada posted an apology letter to the company’s website on Friday. The CEO noted that the way she wrote the letter distracted from the struggle of the employees being laid off.
“There are a number of things I would do differently if I could. The quote I included from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was inappropriate and insensitive. I should have been more upfront about the layoffs in the email, more thoughtful about my tone, and more concise. I am sorry,” Tejada wrote.