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SurveyMonkey to Lay Off 100 and Retool Business Product

SurveyMonkey for Business has "not lived up to expectations," CEO Zander Lurie says.

Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images

Cloud-based polling service SurveyMonkey informed employees today that it is letting go of about 100 people in a plan to retool its product aimed at businesses, which is not living up to expectations.

The layoffs were to be disclosed at an internal meeting this afternoon. The cuts amount to about 13 percent of SurveyMonkey’s workforce of about 750. The cuts were made primarily among the sales team devoted to SurveyMonkey for Business.

The company hired two new execs to run that group last week: Steve Norall was named senior VP for business product, and Brad O’Neill was appointed senior VP for global sales.

The move comes six weeks into the tenure of SurveyMonkey’s new CEO Zander Lurie, the former GoPro exec who joined in January. In an interview, Lurie told Re/code that SurveyMonkey, which is privately held, is on track to post $200 million in 2016 with an Ebitda profit margin of north of 30 percent.

“When you have a healthy business like we do, you have to have high standards when you enter a new business, and you have to recognize it strategically when you’re missing the mark,” he said. “The products and solutions in place were not going to generate long-term value for SurveyMonkey. We have some big ideas for that business and we’re going to get to work in retooling it.”

The company has been rocked by a lot of change in the last 10 months. CEO Dave Goldberg, husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, died suddenly last May. Lurie briefly stepped in to run the company, then in July former Hewlett-Packard executive Bill Veghte took over for a short stint as CEO until Lurie returned again this year.

Founded in 1999, SurveyMonkey is valued at $2 billion, with investors that include Tiger Global Management, T. Rowe Price, Google Capital and Social Capital.

Lurie’s full statement on the cuts is below:

After 6 weeks at SurveyMonkey, I made the decision to reduce our team by about 100 people, 13 percent of our staff — mostly in sales. When you operate a healthy and profitable business, you have to quickly course correct when part of your strategy isn’t living up to expectations. It’s painful to say goodbye to these colleagues, many of whom are friends. We will treat them with respect and provide generous severance packages.

While this is a tough day for all involved, we are focused on the future of this great company. As announced last week, we have new SurveyMonkey for Business (SM4B) leadership. Brad O’Neill and Steve Norall, co-founders of TechValidate, will build out new tech-based business solutions that leverage our platform’s unique ability to deliver quality, fast data at scale.

I am thankful to the SurveyMonkey team. We’ve built a company that helps organizations gauge the happiness of customers, satisfaction of employees, and the health of businesses everywhere. I am confident that making these changes today ensures our next chapter is the best.

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