CEO Apologizes for Including Martin Luther King Jr. Quote in Email Announcing Layoffs


Jennifer Tejada, the PagerDuty CEO, apologized after she sent an email to employees announcing layoffs. It also included a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

“The way I communicated layoffs distracted from our number one priority: showing care for the employees we laid off, and demonstrating the grace, respect, and appreciation they and all of you deserve,” Tejada wrote in a Jan. 27 email apologizing for the earlier message. “There are a number of things I would do differently if I could. The quote I included from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was inappropriate and insensitive. I should have been more upfront about the layoffs in the email, more thoughtful about my tone, and more concise. I am sorry.”

In a Jan. 24 email to “Dutonians,” Tejada had noted that the company would be cutting around 7% of roles.

Later, Tejada added a modified King quote to the lengthy email.

“I am reminded of Martin Luther King’s words in moments such as these, that the ultimate measure of a leader is not their position in moments of convenience and comfort, but how they stand when faced with controversy and challenge. Tejada said PagerDuty is a leader who stands behind its customers, its vision, and its values. “For an equitable world in which all work can be transformed so that everyone can delight their customers as well as build trust, PagerDuty is the right place to be.”

Other companies also announced job losses.

Sundar Pichai, Alphabet CEO, and Google CEO announced earlier in the month that Google is cutting roles. “I have some very difficult news to share. In an email to employees, Pichai stated that we have decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 positions.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO and chairman, stated in a message that she was making changes to reduce the workforce by 10,000 jobs for the FY23 Q3.

Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO, wrote earlier this month in a message to employees that “Between our reductions in November and those we’re sharing today we plan to eliminate just under 18,000 jobs.”