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BuzzFeed is laying off about 20 people — and hiring 45 more — in another reorganization

It’s part of a move away from Facebook and toward other revenue sources.

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti
Asa Mathat
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

BuzzFeed, which laid off about 100 people last fall, is cutting another 20 people as part of a reorganization on its business side.

But the company says it is hiring another 45 people and that recent changes have improved its fortunes after missing revenue goals last year. BuzzFeed currently employs 1,450 people.

BuzzFeed has been in the process of restructuring its business team over the past few days, led by Chief Revenue Officer Lee Brown. In a memo to his staff, Brown says that “changes will involve bringing in new blood” via new hires, and that “in a handful of cases, the changes we’re making will unfortunately result in some roles being eliminated.”

Like other publishers (including Vox Media, which owns this site), BuzzFeed has been reorienting its business away from a dependency on Facebook and toward other sources of revenue. That includes a growing commerce business and “programmatic” — computer-sold — display ads.

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti told Bloomberg last month that the strategy is working, with “strong double-digit growth” this year.

But the company is continuing to make other changes to its structure. In an internal memo, BuzzFeed executives say they have “questions about whether we can build a sustainable business in France,” where it employs around a dozen people, and have begun a government-mandated “consultation” process to inform employees there about possible changes. BuzzFeed says it is interested in expanding in other international markets, in part via syndication deals.

While we’re at it: Last fall, Peretti said the company would hire a chief operating officer following the departure of president Greg Coleman. Now, a company rep says BuzzFeed is no longer looking for a COO, in part because Brown has taken on more responsibilities.

Here’s Brown’s memo to his staff:


Thanks so much for all your hard work this year in delivering a strong Q1 and what looks like an even stronger Q2 to date. Over the past two months, I’ve put a lot of time getting my arms around the new Advertising org, to ensure we’re evolving our teams to best support our expanded product mix. Your feedback has been invaluable. I’ve spoken with many of you directly in 1:1s and larger meetings; I’ve worked with your leaders to better understand your teams, opportunities and challenges; I’ve combed through and read every comment in our Employee Survey results; and I’ve partnered with Jonah and my direct reports to identify areas where we can invest to accelerate our growth.

A number of things jumped out at me:

We have some real areas of opportunity where we can invest in talent and resources to evolve our organization, better support our diversifying product offering, and drive new revenue.

Clarity is a word I heard a lot — many of you want more clarity around your roles, internal processes, career growth, and how you fit into the bigger picture at BuzzFeed.

We need stronger accountability across our teams, to ensure each team is truly on the hook for its goals.

There are some clear areas where we can operate more efficiently and ease the workload for our overextended teams.

I want to move quickly to address these needs to strengthen our org and make sure you’re all in a position to do your best work.

As a result, we’ll be rolling out some changes to our teams and how we operate over the next couple weeks. These changes will involve bringing in new blood — we’ve opened more than 45 new roles across Creative, Strategic Planning, and Pricing, as well as new growth areas such as Business Development and Programmatic. Please check the BuzzFeed Jobs site and share these positions across your personal networks, or apply if you’re interested in new opportunities. In a handful of cases, the changes we’re making will unfortunately result in some roles being eliminated. Most of those eliminated positions will be converted to new open positions in other areas of the org, and we’re encouraging impacted employees to apply for new positions for which they are qualified. I ask that you please show any outgoing employees your gratitude and respect, like I know you will.

We’ll discuss further at the Advertising All Hands on June 14th. Until then, thanks for your patience, and hard work in delivering a strong 2018 for BuzzFeed so far.

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