Penske begins layoffs at Variety

The first round of reductions at Variety under new owner Jay Penske (also IndyCar team owner of Dragon Racing) was announced in a 1:40 p.m., unbylined post at sister site "The total number of this first round of layoffs is 20-25 people — none in editorial, we’re hearing." The "Dear Team" memo from Penske is up there:

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.

The follow at the LAT's Company Town blog says Penske and his consultants are looking at reducing the number of print issues that Variety publishes each week. The layoffs represent about 12% of Variety's 165-person staff, says the LAT's Ben Fritz.

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