In an email shared with Verily employees recently, the company CEO Stephen Gillett announced that they will be laying off 15% of the company’s more than 1,600 employees (approximately 240 people) in order to gain more financial independence from their parent company Alphabet, and to lay foundations for a broader strategy shift and reorganization.
The company aims to bridge the gap between research and care and move from multiple lines of business to one centralized product organization, so that healthcare solutions are increasingly interconnected.
The company’s plan is to focus its strategic efforts on becoming the evidence and data pioneer of precision health and this would mean that several of Verily’s portfolio products would be coming to an end. These include Verily Value Suite, a data-driven clinical and financial insights platform, and other early-stage products on remote patient monitoring for people suffering from heart diseases.
The company’s new operating model is also accompanied by several leadership changes, for example, Jordi Parramon, president of Verily’s devices business is expected to depart from the company sometime later this year and will be transitioning into an advisory capacity in the meantime.
Other jobs have gained increased jurisdiction, job titles for Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D., have been expanded to the president of product and chief medical officer, and Scott Burke who was previously working in the capacity of chief technology officer, will now also supervise the hardware engineering and devices team.
In the initial email that was sent out, staff was informed to work from home as Verily’s office would remain closed for the remainder of the week. Those employees that had been in the office at the time the email was sent out were instructed to return home, these instructions were also for staff embers who had been working out from Google Offices.
“While communicating via email is not ideal, this was a deliberate decision, enabling us to communicate as efficiently and simultaneously as possible. We’re also taking today and the rest of the week to ensure each impacted Veep (Verily employees) has a personal discussion with a leader and HR partner to discuss the details, answer questions, and provide support through the transition,” shared Gillett.
The company stated that its immediate priority is to give employees the necessary support to ease this transition. Severance, coaching, and outplacement services will be provided to employees in the coming months to help them.
Amidst a wave of industry layoffs and fear of recession, this is the first-ever known layoff to hit the Google parent company. Verily is one of Google’s sister companies that specializes in healthcare. It operates within Alphabet’s “Other Bets” category.