The total number of this first round of layoffs is 20-25 people — none in editorial, we’re hearing. According to a memo going out to Variety staff, it’s part of new owner Jay Penske’s broader plan that will include “substantial further investment in editorial and digital”. It’s the latest move from Penske, the owner of Deadline Hollywood who bought Variety on October 9. Soon after, he appointed Michelle Sobrino-Stearns publisher. Here’s the memo:
For the past six months, we have diligently reviewed every aspect of the Variety business. And in more recent weeks, we have outlined to Variety senior management an exciting and also aggressive trajectory for the brand’s resurgence. These steps will include substantial further investment in editorial and digital, but will unfortunately require some immediate eliminations in the following business units: LA411/NY411, Circ, Systems, Conferences, and Admin.
Without a doubt, this is a challenging day, and I particularly wanted to notify and acknowledge those of you who will be saying goodbye to valued colleagues and friends. As we look ahead, Variety’s business holds almost limitless potential and I will remain available to answer any questions you might have regarding today’s changes and our future. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or see Tammy Chase to arrange an appointment.