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BuzzFeed to Lay Off 20, Hire 45 in Company Reorganization

”We’re encouraging impacted employees to apply for new positions for which they are qualified,“ chief revenue officer Lee Brown tells staff

BuzzFeed is set to lay off 20 staffers and then hire more than 45 new employees, the company’s chief revenue officer Lee Brown revealed in an internal email obtained by TheWrap. The new hires will not be journalists per se, but rather be directed toward “Creative, Strategic Planning, and Pricing.”

The move comes as Brown takes charge of a newly-expanded portfolio, which now includes managing the branded content, research, distribution and marketing teams. While announcing the upcoming layoffs, Brown encouraged affected employees to apply internally for other open spots in the company, according to the internal documents.

“In a handful of cases, the changes we’re making will unfortunately result in some roles being eliminated,” he said. “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.”

The cuts are seemingly unrelated to the slashing which has taken place on the editorial end of the BuzzFeed spectrum, with the toughest cuts coming to the website’s international operations in France and England.

On Thursday, news emerged that BuzzFeed would shut down their operations in France and lay off at least 12 employees. The cuts were swift and unexpected, with the site’s acting editor-in-chief, Stephane Jourdain, calling it a “brutal and completely unexpected decision.”

In a statement, BuzzFeed said they had reconsidered the wisdom of the French office.

“We are taking steps to reconsider our operation in France given the uncertain path to growth in the French market,” a spokesperson for the company told TheWrap on Thursday. “We have begun a consultation process with BuzzFeed France and will follow up when we have more information to share.”

In December, BuzzFeed axed dozens of other employees from the London office amid revenue shortfalls and declining traffic. Last year the company fell $70 million short of a $350 million earnings target, though the 2018 picture has been rosier.

A company insider said the business reorganization initiative from Brown was unrelated to the staff cuts abroad.