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UPDATE: Forbes Hit by Layoffs

Memo: Staff cuts come across ‘entire organization.’



By Jason Fell
10/26/2009

Forbes Media CEO Steve Forbes announced in a memo to staff today that more layoffs are hitting the company “across the entire organization.”

“While these are acutely challenging times, Forbes Media is making the strategic and organizational changes that will enable us not only to weather these storms, but ultimately to emerge as a stronger company, well-positioned to expand and prosper in the years ahead,” Forbes wrote in the memo, which was e-mailed to FOLIO:.

A company spokesperson declined to say exactly how many people will be laid off. UPDATE: As many as 100 staffers were reportedly let go Wednesday.

In the memo, Forbes said the company is evolving in reaction to the “transforming” media landscape. He indicated that the company will “maintain the essential strengths” on the editorial side and will make “shifts to fully meet marketers’ evolving needs” on the advertising side.

Earlier this year, Forbes reportedly cut more than 50 people as part of what then was a second round of layoffs. Last November, the company eliminated 43 positions in a restructuring.

Forbes saw ad pages fall 30.8 percent through the first nine months to 1,215.13, according to PIB figures.

Forbes’ entire memo is below.

From: Forbes, Steve
Sent: Monday, October 26, 2009 3:31 PM
Subject: All Hands from Steve Forbes

We—and the entire media world—have been hit hard by both the severe recession and the seismic shifts wrought by the Web. Given these dramatic events, further layoffs, unfortunately, are necessary across the entire organization. We are grateful to our colleagues and friends for the enormous contributions they have made to Forbes over the years.  We thank them for all they have done and are deeply saddened by this course of events.

While these are acutely challenging times, Forbes Media is making the strategic and organizational changes that will enable us not only to weather these storms, but ultimately to emerge as a stronger company, well-positioned to expand and prosper in the years ahead.

Media is profoundly being transformed. The traditional ways we created and disseminated content and generated advertising revenue must rapidly evolve.  Innovation is critical.  On the editorial side, we will maintain the essential strengths of Forbes while also deepening our relationships with our community.  On the advertising side, we are making shifts to fully meet marketers' evolving needs.

These current difficulties are a more intense version of what we underwent eight years ago, particularly after 9/11.  Then, print advertising plummeted, and our Web efforts, like those of other publishers, were in the red.  Competitors effectively put their Web efforts in the deep freeze while we continued to invest in ours. That is why Forbes.com and its affiliates today are light years ahead of virtually all other media companies.  Today we are facing and adapting to even more severe economic pressures. But, as we did in the early part of this decade, so, too, we are doing today—Forbes Media is laying the foundations for a strong, exciting future. The power of the Forbes brand is enabling us to make these strategic moves that will redefine the traditional scope of this company in fundamental ways.

Sadly, right now we must navigate through these turbulent times, and we remain thankful for all you do every day at Forbes.

By Jason Fell
10/26/2009




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