Intel just announced a “restructuring.” The email to employees from CEO Brian Krzanich is very clear, but something’s missing: humanity and responsibility.
Here’s the email with the weaselly parts highlighted (and yes, there are fewer of them than in many emails of this type).
E-mail to Employees by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich
Subject: Today’s Announcement
Date: April 19, 2016
Since I became CEO nearly three years ago, I have been working with our leadership team and all of you to transform our company from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices. The data center and Internet of Things businesses are now Intel’s primary growth engines, and combined with memory and FPGAs, form and fuel a virtuous cycle of growth.
Together, these businesses delivered $2.2 billion in revenue growth last year, made up 40% of our revenue, and the majority of our operating profit. Our results demonstrate a strategy that’s working and a solid foundation for growth. Our opportunity now is to accelerate our momentum and build on our strengths. But this requires some difficult decisions.
With that context, today we are announcing a restructuring initiative that will allow Intel to intensify our investments in the products and technologies that fuel our growth, and drive more profitable mobile and PC businesses.
We expect that this initiative will result in the reduction of up to 12,000 positions globally. This will be achieved by voluntary and involuntary departures, global site consolidation, and efficiency initiatives. The majority of these actions will be communicated over the next 60 days, with some spanning into 2017.
These are not changes I take lightly. We are saying goodbye to colleagues who have played an important role in Intel’s success. We are deeply committed to helping our employees through this transition and will do so with the utmost dignity and respect.
Today’s announcement is about accelerating our growth strategy. And it’s about driving long-term change to further establish Intel as the leader for the smart, connected world.
As we drive this transformation, there is an extraordinary opportunity ahead. We will emerge as a more productive company with broader reach, and sharper execution.
I know that many of you will have questions about these changes. You’ll hear more details from me, and from the rest of Intel’s leadership team, in the coming days and weeks. To get started, I encourage you to attend the Q2 BUM later today.
You’re also invited to listen to the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call with investors here. Information about these changes will also be available on Circuit Thank you for your support. I look forward to talking with you all soon.
As these announcements go, this is not dreadful. It’s mercifully short at 400 words. It is written directly with “I” and “you.” And it doesn’t beat around the bush regarding the 12,000 layoffs. But if you’re an employee on the other end of this, losing your job, all the talk about strategy means little. And if you’re one of the 89% of the employees remaining, you’re probably worried.
In this email, there are some things that bothered me:
- Starting with “Since I became CEO nearly three years ago.” The implication is “I tried to fix things, it’s not my fault.” Don’t start by justifying and talking about yourself.
- Characterizing this as a “restructuring initiative,” and then saying that “We expect that this initiative will result in the reduction of up to 12,000 positions globally.” And the passive “this will be achieved” further runs from responsibility. Look, this is not an “initiative,” it is a decision. The initiative will not “result in” people losing their jobs; Intel’s management will be laying people off.
- “We are deeply committed to helping our employees through this transition and will do so with the utmost dignity and respect.” Platitudes. I’m sure weasel words like “deeply” and “utmost” are going to make the laid off people feel better.
Subject: We didn’t shift fast enough, so now we’re letting 12,000 people go
Intel is in the midst of a huge change. The PC business, where we sell most of our chips, is tanking faster than we thought. The data center and Internet of Things businesses are taking off, but not fast enough to fix the problems with PC chips.
We didn’t transition fast enough. So we need to lay off 12,000 people who are in the parts of Intel that aren’t growing.
We made a mistake. Now I know what “disruption” feels like . . . it feels like thousands of people losing their jobs. If one of them is you, I’m sorry. You worked hard, and this is not your fault. I’ll give you a humane severance package.
The future is clear. We’ll be powering data centers, Internet-connected devices, mobile phones, tablets, stuff like that. And we’re good at it. We just haven’t moved fast enough. Once we dump some of the slower-moving stuff, we’ll be fine, I’m pretty sure.
If you’re at Intel, good luck to you. There are going to be plenty of chips in the future. I hope you get to make some of them.