“Today was a tough moment in the very new life of G/O Media. But it was a necessary step,” G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller says
G/O Media, the newly formed company comprised of the assets of the former Gizmodo Media, will lay off 25 employees, according to a memo that company CEO Jim Spanfeller sent to staffers on Tuesday.
“Today was a tough moment in the very new life of G/O Media. But it was a necessary step. Life is about constant change. Sometimes that change is slow, and other times it is blindingly fast,” began the memo, sent to staffers of Gizmodo, The Onion, Deadspin, Jezebel, Splinter and several other websites that private equity firm Great Hill Partners acquired last month from Univision. “Today we have parted company with approximately 25 teammates from all facets of our operations.”
Among those departing are some of the company’s top editors, including executive managing editor Alex Dickinson and editorial director Susie Banikarim. Tim Marchman, who headed up Gizmodo Media’s investigative special projects division, was also out, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to TheWrap.
The cuts will come “from all facets of our operations,” Spanfeller continued, while noting that his goal was to ultimately expand the company significantly from its current staff of roughly 400 by the end of the year.
“To put a finer point on this. The actions today were not performance driven but rather process motivated,” Spanfeller said. “As you will soon see, we will be adding headcount across our operations. The focus and requirements of these new positions will often be different than what we had, but we will add,” adding bold font to drive home the point.
The cuts are an early embarrassment for Spanfeller and the company, which promised only days ago that it would be able to proceed without layoffs. “We don’t plan to cut our way to growth,” Spanfeller told Variety in an interview published on April 25. “We are confident we can make this a profitable, fast-growing business.”
Earlier this month, Great Hill Partners bought the money-losing Gizmodo Media and The Onion from Univision for a fraction of the $135 million the media giant had paid for them back in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal. The websites — which included Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Splinter and several others — were folded into the newly created G/O Media.
Spanfeller, a longtime industry veteran, was brought into the lead the sites a short time later.