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Amazon units chief Dave Limp addresses layoffs in memo to workers

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Dave Limp, Amazon’s devices and services chief. (GeekWire File Photo)

As Amazon has started the process of laying off employees from its corporate and tech workforce this week, one senior executive appears to be among the first to address the cuts publicly.

In a memo Wednesday morning posted to Amazon’s blog, Dave Limp, head of Amazon devices and services, said that a consolidation of teams and programs within the division would mean that “some roles will no longer be required.”

Amazon has not shared how many employees will be cut. Layoffs are expected to target those working on the company’s Echo devices and Alexa voice assistant, retail operations, and human resources. The New York Times reported this week that as many as 10,000 people could be let go.

Limp stressed that the devices and services organization “remains an important area of investment for Amazon, and we will continue to invent on behalf of our customers.”

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Amazon’s Alexa business was being closely evaluated as the company looks to cut back on businesses that haven’t been profitable. The Journal said internal documents show that in some recent years the devices division had an operating loss of more than $5 billion a year.

“Having gone through times like this in the past I know that when there’s a difficult economy, customers tend to gravitate to the companies and products they believe have the best customer experience and that take care of them the best,” Limp wrote Wednesday. “Historically, Amazon has done a very good job at this.”

Limp’s note comes amid some reported backlash over how Amazon is communicating the cuts. Business Insider reported Tuesday that some employees are frustrated by the lack of communication from the top. The website quoted employees who were venting on an internal Slack channel.

“Why did I find out about the layoffs through a friend rather than internal news?” one employee reportedly asked. “Layoffs are one thing but the absolute disrespect is not how you become ‘The World’s Best Employer.’ Just asking for a little bit of humanity.”

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Amazon’s Kelly Nantel, director of global media relations, shared a statement with GeekWire on Wednesday.

“As part of our annual operating planning review process, we always look at each of our businesses and what we believe we should change,” Nantel said. “As we’ve gone through this, given the current macro-economic environment (as well as several years of rapid hiring), some teams are making adjustments, which in some cases means certain roles are no longer necessary. We don’t take these decisions lightly, and we are working to support any employees who may be affected.”

Amazon’s cuts are among continued workforce reductions happening at other technology companies such as Meta, Twitter, Redfin, Flyhomes, Convoy, Lyft and more as companies look to cut costs amid current economic headwinds.

Read the full memo from Limp below:

Folks,

At our last Town Hall in July, I talked a bit about the state of our economy. As you know, we continue to face an unusual and uncertain macroeconomic environment. In light of this, we’ve been working over the last few months to further prioritize what matters most to our customers and the business. After a deep set of reviews, we recently decided to consolidate some teams and programs. One of the consequences of these decisions is that some roles will no longer be required. It pains me to have to deliver this news as we know we will lose talented Amazonians from the Devices & Services org as a result. I am incredibly proud of the team we have built and to see even one valued team member leave is never an outcome any of us want.

We notified impacted employees yesterday, and will continue to work closely with each individual to provide support, including assisting in finding new roles. In cases where employees cannot find a new role within the company, we will support the transition with a package that includes a separation payment, transitional benefits, and external job placement support. We know people across the organization may be impacted differently by this news and will lead with compassion for all team members.

While I know this news is tough to digest, I do want to emphasize that the Devices & Services organization remains an important area of investment for Amazon, and we will continue to invent on behalf of our customers. Having gone through times like this in the past I know that when there’s a difficult economy, customers tend to gravitate to the companies and products they believe have the best customer experience and that take care of them the best. Historically, Amazon has done a very good job at this.

Thank you for the support and empathy that I know our team will show each other during this time. Please don’t hesitate to ping me or your manager if you have any questions.

Dave

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