As part of Airtable’s decision to cut 20% of its workforce, or 254 employees, three executives are also parting ways with the company, a spokesperson confirmed via email. The Chief Revenue Officer, Chief People Officer and Chief Product Officer are no longer with the company.
Airtable Chief Revenue Officer Seth Shaw joined in November 2020, just a month before Airtable Chief Product Officer Peter Deng came on board. Airtable’s chief people officer, Johanna Jackman, joined Airtable in May 2021 with an ambitious goal to double the company’s workforce to 1,000 in 12 months. The three executives are leaving Airtable today as a mutual decision, but will advise the company through its next phase of transition, the company says. All three executives have been contacted for further comment and this story will be updated with their responses as given.
An Airtable spokesperson declined to comment on whether the executives were offered severance pay. The functions are followed by internal employees, who will be presented this Friday during an all-hands meeting.
Executive departures on this scale are rare, even when the entire company is going through a severe round of budget cuts. But CEO and founder Howie Liu stressed in an email sent to staff but seen by businesskinda.com that the decision — Airtable’s first-ever layoff in its ten-year history — was made following Airtable’s choice to pivot to a more “closely focused mode”. of execution.”
In the email, Liu described Airtable’s goal — first revealed in October — to attract business customers with connected apps. Now, rather than the bottom-up adoption that first fueled Airtable’s rise, the company now wants to be more focused on this new direction. Liu’s email indicates that the startup will focus most of its resources on “acquiring and growing large enterprises with at least 1,000 FTEs – where our connected app vision will deliver the most differentiated value.”
The lean mindset comes after Airtable slashed spending in marketing media, real estate, business technology and infrastructure, the email indicates. “By wanting to do too many things at the same time, we have grown at a breakneck pace in recent years. We will continue to emphasize growth, but do so by investing heavily in the levers that yield the highest growth relative to their cost,” Liu wrote.
Airtable seems to emphasize that the lower spending is not accompanied by less ambition or execution power. A spokesperson added via email that all of Airtable’s $735 million Series F funds are “still intact.” They also said that the business side of the startup, which makes up the bulk of Airtable’s revenue, is growing more than 100% year over year; today’s product movement just doubles on that exact cohort.
Current and former Airtable employees can contact Natasha Mascarenhas on Signal, a secure encrypted messaging app, at 925 271 0912. You can also DM her on Twitter, @nmasc_.
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