‘We can’t always choose macroeconomic conditions,’ Google CEO Sundar Pichai told disgruntled staff
Google CEO Sundar Pichai was reportedly agitated in a ‘heated’ bare-knuckle meeting in which an employee asked why the search engine was nickel-and-diming workers by scrapping perks and perks .
A worker had the nerve to ask Pichai why Google were ‘nickel and dwindling employees’ when the company reported ‘record profits and huge cash reserves’, according to to audio obtained by CNBC.
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Googler’s pointed question received a positive response from his colleagues, who rated it prominently on the company’s internal Dory question-and-answer system, according to CNBC.
Pichai reportedly paused to collect his thoughts and offer a measured response.
“How can I tell? the CEO reportedly began in response to the disgruntled employee.
“Listen, I hope you read all the news, externally,” Pichai continued. “The fact that you know we’re a little more responsible in one of the toughest macroeconomic conditions of the past decade, I think it’s important that as a business we stick together to get through times like this.”
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Pichai reportedly sounded annoyed, telling his accusations, “We can’t always choose macroeconomic conditions.” He added that it was important for the company “to be smart, to be frugal, to be scrappy, to be more efficient.”
“I remember when Google was small and scrappy,” Pichai said.
“Fun hasn’t always been – we shouldn’t always equate fun with money. I think you can get into a startup that works hard and people can have fun and that shouldn’t not always be synonymous with money.
An employee told Dory it was ironic that Pichai cut travel costs while flying to New York from his Bay Area headquarters to meet with them.
“It’s an interesting choice for Sundar to be in New York…after employee travel is reduced to only those points most critical to the business,” the employee reportedly wrote on Dory.
“I’m sure Sundar has business-critical meetings in New York.”
Pichai replied, “I think so. I think it qualifies. The answer made the audience laugh, according to CNBC.
The CEO, who hints at layoffs after the company imposed a hiring freeze earlier this summer, also rebuffed an employee’s suggestion that Google moved to an “aggressive cost reduction” strategy.
“I’m a little concerned that you think what we’ve done is what you would define as aggressive cost saving,” Pichai said. “I think it is important that we are not disconnected. You have to take a long-term view in conditions like this.
Pichai, who dodged a question about Google’s executive compensation, said the company “always invests in long-term projects like quantum computing.”
Pichai earned $6.3 million in salary last year.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that Google informed some employees that they must apply for new jobs with the company if they hope to remain employed.
Those who did not reapply within 90 days would be fired, reports the Journal.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said its payroll was 174,014 employees at the end of the second quarter.
In July, Alphabet reported weaker-than-expected earnings and revenue. The company expects third-quarter sales growth to fall to single digits – a far cry from the year-ago figure of more than 40%.
Stocks of Alphabet GOOG,
fell 1.4% on Friday.
The New York Post said it sought comment from the company.
A spokesperson for Alphabet told CNBC, “Sundar has spoken to the company regularly over the past few months about ways to be more focused.”
According to the spokesperson, Pichai communicated to his employees that “company leaders strive to be accountable and efficient in everything their teams do.”
Pichai told his employees that managers “make sure our employees are working on the most impactful/highest priority work,” according to the company representative.
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