An AOL Layoff List, Sorta

The secret is out

I’ve been asked by an anonymous commenter for a list of people laid off at AOL. I don’t have access to such a list but anyone who cares to send me one will have my eternal thankfulness, not to mention the thankfulness of everyone else on the Web who’s just as curious as I am.

What I’ve done in the meantime is collect posts and comments scattered across Silicon Alley Insider and other websites about who got laid off and and organize them for everyone else’s benefit.

Thanks to an email from Randy Falco we learned last week that AOL’s layoffs actually amounted to 20% of the workforce, not 25% or 30% as previously reported. It’s unusual that a lower layoff estimate turns out to be right in relation to AOL, but crazier things have happened. From many reports including this one we learn that:

[Of the 2,000 job cuts] about 1,200 of the cuts will be in the U.S., with the balance of layoffs coming at AOL operations outside of the U.S. The company will notify affected U.S. employees Tuesday, says AOL spokeswoman Anne Bentley. The rest of the reductions are expected to be made by the end of the year, she says. The cuts represent about 20 percent of AOL’s worldwide workforce.

AOL has about 4,000 employees in Northern Virginia.

AOL Losses in the US

Resignations

From Silicon Alley Insider – Oct. 10 – Lance Miyamoto Quits Ahead of Mass Layoffs

A popular rumor (as yet unconfirmed) about him leaving so soon was that he was the person responsible for the leak to Silicon Valley Insider on Sept. 4 about the mass firings. A popular t-shirt addressing this rumor was designed by bobzumadguy, who is believed by most to be an employee of AOL.

Layoffs

From Silicon Alley Insider – Oct. 16-21 – Roundup From the Live Layoff Update Page

“Whole teams were just slashed to ribbons–one team who Cahill had just praised in a recent managers meeting lost half its members and its manager; one VP lost over 38% of his employees. Pretty much anybody who worked on back-end systems was vulnerable… A friend told me later that his management is trying desperately to figure out how much of their previous responsibilities they can continue to maintain after a 38 percent across-the-board cut. Another friend said that his management essentially told him to focus on one or two high-profile tasks and ignore pretty much everything else, because there was no way a team that had lost almost 40% of its personnel could possibly continue supporting its previous load. Several teams were panicking about databases that had no administrators after the layoffs, as well as worrying about reporting analysis tools whose programmers had been let go, leaving no one in a position to support the tools if anything went wrong.”

International Reaper Cometh

“Carl Miller, who was one of the most important persons for International relations was let go today. So apparently some International branches will be hit soon.”

Koo Here, Appelman Gone

“Norman Koo is still an active employee. Appelman’s not active.”

Bill Wilson’s Dept. Decimated

“All of Bill Wilson’s org had team meetings today where they got the rah-rah speech from Bill, justifying the layoffs to say that before his group was at a sub 10% profit margin, and this release brings it up to about 30%. The most cheesy part of the meeting was where Bill, instead of just saying how much people would be missed, actually ‘thanked’ all the people that were let go, literally saying “I want to THANK all the people who are gone.”

It was just weird since all the people gone are, ya know, GONE!”

Legal Clobbered

“FYI: Legal lost 10 – some of whom deserved it, and many of whom that didn’t, because they worked their ass off and were actually good lawyers.”

Legal and HR–Got Off Scott Free!

“Legal didn’t lose many if at all any. The two safest departments to be in at AOL are Legal and HR. Always amazing. The inmates are definitely running the asylum.”

No, HR Got Whacked, Too

“I wouldn’t say that HR is safe… I’ve heard that EVERYONE in HR is gone. That they will be outsourcing. How the hell do you do that with HR?”

Legal’s Getting Killed

“Regarding Legal and HR… I heard from my director that the axe would be dropping tomorrow for them… they were needed today to supervise the “Special Purpose Rooms.”

Legal Did Get the Ax

“The information posted earlier about the Legal department was incorrect. A number of attorneys and paraprofessionals were let go.”

Video: Toast

“Yeah, so the entire AOL Video team got the axe. So much for a successful “portal”. ROFL”

KOL and RED Kaput

“KOL and RED are done. A few people kept on in “transition” until December, then just one person will be kept on to keep the lights on inside the hollow shell of these once-robust programming offerings.”

MovieFone, AOL Music and Programming Hit Hard

“In NYC, Moviefone and AOL Music also took hits. Seems that Programming as a whole was hit pretty hard.”

From Valleywag, Oct. 17: AOL Layoff Details Revealed

Member Service Cut 90%, Data Centers to Close

Member Services, the organization responsible for AOL’s rapidly defecting dialup customers, may get cut by as much as 90 percent. A data center in Reston, Va. is closing, with the facility up for sale, and another one in nearby Manassas could be on the block in the future. As deep as those cuts go, however, they may not be all. Remember the old adage “Measure twice, cut once?” Don’t worry — neither do AOL CEO Randy Falco and COO Ron Grant.

Relatively safe — for now, at any rate:

  • Advertising sales
    Save for some rationalization as Advertising.com, Tacoda, and other groups get merged into the new Platform A unit, this area’s seen as a strength for AOL.
  • Products
    Email will get more attention.
  • Recent acquisitions
    AOL’s collected a number of interesting startups like Truveo in video search and Userplane in widgets, but it hasn’t done much with them. Expect that to change.

From the Bits Blog @ The New York Times, Oct. 17: Falco Says “Email is Starved for Resources”

More Than a Dozen Products Gone

Unlike in past rounds of layoffs, there are reports that more than a dozen products will simply be shut down…

While [Randy Falco] didn’t talk specifically about the pending layoffs, he did say there were too many middle managers and not enough accountability. At the same time important products, like e-mail, were starved for resources.

From the New York Times, Oct. 16: But hell, fire everyone in Email all the same!

The Matrix Is Losing Email

Mr. Falco…also said he wanted to change AOL’s complex management structure, known as “the matrix.” There were five people, he said, overseeing various parts of the e-mail service, one of the company’s most important products.

“We ripped apart the matrix,” he said. One person now runs the e-mail operation and is responsible for its financial performance, he said. Moreover, AOL now measures the profits of e-mail and other products, something it had not done before.

From Silicon Alley Insider, Oct. 16-21: Roundup From the Live Layoff Update Page

Goodbye Columbus

“Core Services was hit pretty hard today (especially former BT teams and remote people). Columbus [a.k.a., Compuserve] was decimated. And, of course, do they tell us to go home for the day so those people laid off can pack up in peace? Of course not. Back to work. Chop chop.”

Tucson a Ghost Town

“Tucson has also been decimated, all that remains is a handful of folks not cut that will pick up the pieces. Wonder if they will insult those that remain by playing off that all is OK and there employment is
indefinite or if they will shoot straight and give a final separation date?”

From AZBiz.com, Oct. 19: Tucson Among “Hard Hit”

Williams Centre Decimated

Three Tucson employees interviewed separately Oct. 16 said Tucson and other operations facilities seemed to be hardest hit. One man described the office at Williams Centre as “decimated.” But another said he knows not everyone was given a severance package. The severance packages included at least four months’ pay. None of the affected employees was required to report back to work after Oct. 16.

After last October’s layoffs, the Tucson operation was down to about 200 employees, focusing on software testing. At its peak in 2002, AOL had 2,000 employees in Tucson but the company has continued to down-size as it changes its business model from a membership-supported dial-up service to an advertiser supported that can be accessed by anyone.

International AOL Layoffs

From Silicon Alley Insider, Oct. 15: Comments About AOL Canada Layoffs

Canada Call Center Cuts 10 or More

“aol has axed 10 or more management and support staff at aol canada call center in Moncton canada this afternoon”

No, 25-30 In Canada Are Gone

“AOL has axed around 25-30 management and support staff at the call center in Moncton, NB.

Alot of good people (read: those that did their jobs) got axed, while those that could stand a lesson in management/leadership skills are left behind.

So, while the estimated date for the mass layoff was 10/16/07, they showed up early, just for us.”

No, Wait…That’s 25 Security Guards

“An amendment to my previous posting last night.

Showed up to work at AOL in Moncton this morning, to find 25 security guards.

AOL has decided to axe all positions for their US Win Tech queue. (For those of you in the US, when you were speaking to a technician if you use AOL, and they were in Canada – you were likely talking to one of us.)

Effective 30 Nov 07, the Moncton center will no longer be in operation for the “US Business”.

In total, about 140 technicians will be cut, as well as management and support staff. Overall count for Moncton is approx 175 people as of 30 Nov 07.”

From Silicon Valley Insider, Sept. 26: Two-thirds of AOL Germany Jobs Gone…AOL London and AOL Paris to Follow

Germany Whacked and Sacked

A reader in Deutschland tells us that the article below says that AOL will whack two-thirds of its German staff– keeping 70 out of 170. (We, unfortunately, have no idea what the article says). The same reader has heard rumors that the company will sack 90 in London and more than 150 in Paris. The German article also apparently says 3,000 US employees are goners, which seems high to us (our current estimate is 2,000-2,500 worldwide).

***a commenter to the article kindly provides a rough Google translation***

“The portal operator AOL obviously is in a dramatic inclination. Of the 170 coworkers in the Germany center apparent only 70 remains. Friday past week has the staff on one Coworker meeting experienced that in the center in Hamburg two thirds of the 170 jobs are to be diminished, experienced W&V from the surrounding field of the enterprise. AOL for some time refers ever more contents over partners as for instance world on-line, Autobild.de, Amica on-line one, fit one for Fun on-line one and max of on-line ones.

Also in France and England there is to be dismissals. In the future the European business in London one bundle to a large extent. Also in the motherland there is to be the USA a dramatic job dismantling. So 3,000 coworkers are to go there with the time warning he daughter. Background of all measures are hearing after the vigorous net yield goals the US guidance. The enterprise did not want to take a position to the development.”

From Valleywag, Oct. 22: AOL France Loses Most Employees

France Lost Good-Looking Ones, Too

AOL France reportedly lost 90 of its extremely good-looking 140 employees, most of whom apparently spent their last day on the job creating this stupendous single-take music video to the tune of “L’amour a la française.”

Especially touching: They dedicated it to “any lost love.” Amazing to think that any AOL employee, at this point in the company’s slow-motion implosion, still has passion for the company. (A password-protected, high-resolution version is available on Vimeo. The password is “aollover.”) Note the last scene: If you’re not up on your French, the giant sign on the company’s office reads “For Rent.”