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Involuntary layoffs at the Globe

Forty-two positions total, in the circulation/marketing and advertising departments, including senior managers.

That's just one of the developments reported in an internal memo from Globe publisher Steve Ainsley today. Also of note: Boston.com now reports to the Globe rather than to New York Times Digital. This is less dramatic than it sounds, however, since certain parts of Boston.com--including the news operation--were already reporting to editor Marty Baron.

Here's the memo in its entirety:

Dear Colleagues,

I want to share two pieces of important information with you.

First, as you know we have taken a number of steps to significantly reduce expenses in order to safeguard our financial health in these severe economic conditions. Those steps have included voluntary buy-outs, outsourcing, and cutting of operating budgets and newsprint. Recently we decided to close the Billerica plant as a way to bring our production infrastructure in line with our circulation and advertising volumes.

Today, in connection with those volume declines in our business, we implemented an involuntary layoff primarily within the circulation/marketing and advertising departments.  Almost all of the employees have been notified.  A total of 42 positions have been reduced, largely managerial, including members of the senior management team. We specifically decided to remove layers of management recognizing we need to be a leaner organization with more direct lines of  communication and responsibility.

While necessary, this decision was very difficult. The employees leaving us have contributed greatly to the Globe, and they will be missed.

I also recognize that this is a sizeable reduction of employees who handled a good deal of work.  As we move forward we can't expect to simply take on that work without focusing on the essential tasks at hand and making clear decisions about which activities are central to stabilizing the business.


The second announcement concerns organizational changes to improve our overall efficiency. In an effort to further integrate our print and online efforts, Boston.com will now report to the Globe.  It had been reporting into the New York Times Digital operation.  Susan Hunt Stevens, currently our SVP of Circulation & Marketing will have a new position as the SVP for Digital, which includes Boston.com.  Susan will report into Steve Ainsley.  Susan will oversee all digital strategy and operations for Boston Globe Media, including digital product development, marketing, licensing, business development and e-commerce.  Bob Kempf, Boston.com VP/Products, will report into Susan.  Susan also will continue to oversee Globe interactive services and the Globe e-commerce and licensing initiatives. Boston.com's news operations will remain unchanged, reporting up to Marty [editor Marty Baron].  Likewise Boston.com advertising sales will continue to report up to Sam Martin.

The Advertising department also has reorganized to give greater focus to each of its different functions.  Sam Martin, Chief Advertising Officer, will have four direct reports, as follows.  Lisa Desisto, V.P. Advertising/Classified continues to oversee all classified sales categories for print and online as well as local sales.  Likewise, Peter Ockerbloom, .P. Advertising/Display continues to oversee all display sales categories for print and online.  In a new role, Jason Kissell will oversee strategic development for advertising, including customer relationship marketing, event marketing, and sales support.  Jason will also oversee sales and marketing for niche publications which is moving into advertising to better integrate sales efforts.  Jason?s new title is Executive Director/Advertising Strategy.  Jane Bowman, Director/Advertising Sales Development will continue to oversee sales development adding the responsibilities for b2b marketing, and client solutions.

We are consolidating several areas of the business under Chris Mayer's leadership to gain efficiencies from operations that are either highly interdependent or very similar in nature.  In addition to overseeing the information technology department, Chris will now also oversee the production department, the circulation department, and advertising operations.  Chris?s new title is SVP/Circulation & Operations.  As part of this consolidation, the marketing creative services department will report into advertising operations, run by Rich Masotta, Executive Director/Ad Operations.


I am confident that this team will not only bring greater efficiencies to our business, but more importantly will drive our strategy to stabilize our print business while growing digital revenues and audience.  Over the next few days there will be a series of staff meetings with employees in these departments to review all the changes.

Let me close with thanking everyone at the Globe and Boston.com for their deep commitment to producing the highest quality newspaper and online site for our community, despite economic challenges of historic proportions.

I know everyone feels as determined as I do to turn this situation around. Step by step we are creating a new business model that I am confident will result in a financially healthy and journalistically superb organization that spans both print and on-line.

Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do to make us one of
this community's great institutions.

Steve

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