Where is BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti? Maybe running crisis PR after news broke that the company is planning leadership changes and cuts after lower-than-expected quarterly earnings. Maybe heading back to his Los Feliz mansion — with its “thoroughgoingly 2010s” interior decor, as one article put it when he bought the place for $5.2 million in 2020 (apparently this means “an absence of ornament, a moody tonal scheme, and plentiful optional glass”) — to de-stress after a long day in the limelight.
One place he is not, however, is at the BuzzFeed News staff-wide Q&A session. According to several BuzzFeed staffers on Twitter, Peretti left the meeting shortly before it opened up for questions.
His employees might have had some questions, possibly related to Peretti’s announcement this morning that the newly public company expected their news division to lose up to $20 million in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) over the next year and that, as a result, they would be laying off almost two percent of their staff. (A spokesperson for BuzzFeed told Gawker earlier today that this would amount to about 25 roles).
CNBC reported that some of BuzzFeed’s larger shareholders have urged the CEO to shutter the newsroom entirely, on the grounds that the 100-person staff loses some $10 million a year. Sources told CNBC that these investors felt the newsroom was “weighing down the company.” That would presumably raise some questions, especially if you’re an employee of the newsroom that the people holding your employer’s purse strings reportedly want to gut. Unfortunately, Peretti does not seem interested in answering them.