Alphabet to Cut Staff for Health Division Verily By 15%

Verily Building

In an email circulated to its workforce on Wednesday, Verily CEO Stephen Gillett outlined a restructuring plan that will involve reducing its staff by 15%, affecting approximately 240 employees, as confirmed by a Verily spokesperson.

Verily, a subsidiary specializing in health sciences, operates within Alphabet’s “Other Bets” category, alongside Google’s diverse ventures.

This marks the first instance of layoffs within Alphabet following broader industry job reductions and concerns about economic challenges.

Despite Google avoiding widespread layoffs seen at other tech giants like Meta, employee anxiety about potential future layoffs has been noted.

Gillett instructed employees to work from home for the remainder of the week, as Verily’s physical offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

“Those who are in the office today can return home now,” the email stated, including employees based at Google offices.

Verily is recognized for several notable projects, including a diabetes-detecting contact lens halted in 2018, Project Baseline for aggregating health data with research organizations, and a Covid-19 testing platform highlighted by former President Trump during the pandemic’s onset.

Alphabet’s CFO Ruth Porat explained in 2019 that its “Other Bets” operate under their own equity structure.

Verily has secured external investment since 2017, starting with $800 million from Singapore’s Temasek, and has raised over $2 billion in subsequent equity rounds.

Alphabet’s Verily (Photo: Andrew Harrer)

Gillett’s email attributed the layoffs to discontinued programs and redundant teams.

The company plans to provide severance packages and outplacement services “in the coming weeks and months,” although specific details were not yet disclosed.

The restructuring involves phasing out early-stage products such as “remote patient monitoring for heart failure and micro needles for drug delivery,” to concentrate resources on more promising initiatives.

Gillett acknowledged the difficult decisions, stressing that the company will conduct an all-hands meeting on January 18 to elaborate on the changes.

The email also noted executive changes and the departure of Jordi Parramon, who led Verily’s devices business from its inception.

Impacted employees will receive notifications via emails titled “Important Update Regarding Your Role,” while those remaining in their roles will receive “Your Role at Verily” emails.

Employees outside the U.S. will receive communication directly from their business leaders by Wednesday or Thursday, as specified in the note.

Gillett defended the use of email for communication, ensuring efficient and simultaneous dissemination of information.

The company plans to provide personal discussions with leaders and HR partners to support affected employees through the transition.

“As we go on Verily’s next chapter, we reaffirm our commitment to advancing precision health across all fronts,” the email affirmed.

“Our goal is to establish a financially independent company with a vibrant organizational culture.”

Both Alphabet and Verily declined further comment on the matter.

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Categorized as Health

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