We Hear: VaynerMedia New York Goes Through a Round of Layoffs

By Erik Oster Comment

Vayner

Today our inboxes have been filling up with sources reporting a series of layoffs at VaynerMedia’s New York offices.

According to said sources, the agency’s chief heart officer Claude Silver made the rounds to break the news to staff throughout the day. The latest message we received puts the total number of employees dismissed so far at 30 or more.

Another party claims the cuts include creative directors, senior vice president Kim Francis and other senior employees. We don’t have the latest numbers, but in October of 2015, 440 of the agency’s 500 employees worked out of its flagship New York location. The most recent figures put VaynerMedia’s total staff at over 750.

We repeatedly reached out to the agency for comment today but have yet to receive a response.

One current VaynerMedia staffer tells us that the employees who were terminated were invited to meetings with vague titles before being fired and that even higher-ups were unaware that their teams were being downsized. Other former employees told us today that the layoffs were part of a reorganization announced several weeks ago with the implication that some jobs would be eliminated. The reason given at the time, according to these sources, was that the agency had hired too many staffers in anticipation of new business wins and then had to backtrack and restructure.

Vaynermedia founder Gary Vaynerchuck was reportedly not in the office today as this happened, but he sent a Facebook video about smaller teams doing more work to all staff in October when the reorganization was first announced.

The news comes just days after Vaynerchuk announced the acquisition of women’s lifestyle digital media company PureWow (with a little help from Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross‘ venture capital firm RSE Ventures) and launched VaynerMedia sister company The Gallery in what he called a “foray at a major level into the media side.”

It also follows the closing of the agency’s San Francisco office, which we reported on in November, and the departure of chief financial officer (or “#CFbrO”) Scott Heydt. Vaynerchuck outlined his unorthodox, and somewhat controversial, means of “performance-based data collection” for determining an unspecified number of layoffs back in October.

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