Musk fires almost all of Twitter’s India staff

Musk fires almost all of Twitter’s India staff


Twitter’s new owner and chief executive, Elon Musk, has let go of almost all of the company’s India team, multiple sources told Mint. According to one person aware of developments, the company now has less than 10 people left in India. Twitter had between 230-250 employees in the country, two sources said.

India employees received an email around 4am IST (part of a global email blast) on November 4, informing them that they will receive an email by 9AM PST on whether their roles at the company has been impacted by the downsizing. Impacted employees later lost access to Twitter’s internal systems, like Slack, emails, laptoops etc. 

A lawyer close to the company also noted that some employees chose to put in their papers voluntarily, in anticipation of the layoffs. The company had undertaken another round of layoffs in September.

Further, a second person close to the company confirmed that people from Twitter’s Curation team, which curates content for the Twitter Moments feature, have been let go. Other teams affected include Communications, Global Content Partnerships, Sales and Ad Revenue. All or at least 50% of employees in these teams have been let go.

Notably, employees from Twitter’s Engineering and Product teams have also been downsized. The company had announced plans to expand its engineering teams in India, out of Bengaluru, in April 201, hiring ex-Uber executive Apurva Dalal as Director of Engineering. 

An ex-employee, who was among the ones laid off, said that some contractual employees who weren’t on full time company rolls have also been retained. To be sure, Twitter’s teams involved in the functioning of its India operations expand across continents, so some members weren’t directly based in India.

Three sources confirmed that two employees in the Public Policy team were retained, while another said that a few people from Twitter’s Sales teams in India have also been retained. Some contractors who weren’t on full-time Twitter roles have also been retained, the ex-employee quoted above, said.

Employees have been told that next steps, which includes severance packages, returning of company assets, etc. will be communicated over the next few days. Most employees are expecting two months’ worth of pay as severance, though this might differ based on a person’s employment terms.

On November 4, Reuters reported that Musk had directed Twitter Inc’s teams to cut $1 billion in infrastructure cost savings. According to FY21 filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), made by Twitter, the company accrued ₹43.25 crore in “employee benefit expenses”. The RoC filings were sourced from business research platform Tofler. FY22 numbers weren’t available at press time.

The layoffs are part of a global downsizing drive that Musk started ever since he took charge of the company. Global Twitter employees have even started a hashtag — #OneTeam — on the platform to show solidarity with each other and announce their layoffs. The same hashtag is also racking up posts on professional networking platform LinkedIn.

“Just got laid off. Bird App, it was an absolute honour, the greatest privilege ever to be a part of this team, this culture,” tweeted Yash Agarwal, who was part of the Public Policy team at the company earlier. “It’s been an honor to be a part of this team and this organisation. It gives me immense gratitude to be able to call you folks my colleagues and my friends. 

It’s been an amazing ride,” wrote Shifalika Yogi, whose profile indicates that she was a Senior Client Account Manager at Twitter.

The first round of layoffs at Twitter started Friday following a formal email sent by the company on the day before, which reportedly asked workers worldwide to stay at home and wait for another email that will update them about the status of their job. 

“In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce,” said the email sent to workers, reported Reuters on Friday.

Twitter employed around 7,500 people globally as of December 2021, up from 5,500 in the previous year, according to a July report by Statista. The company has approximately 23.6 million users in India, according to Statista.com. In a counterclaim filed at the court in Delaware during the battle for Twitter’s takeover, Musk had claimed that India is the company’s third-largest market.

Reports from Reuters and Bloomberg on Thursday had said that Musk plans to slash half of the workforce at the firm.

After the completion of the $44 billion deal last week, Musk fired top Twitter executives including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal along with legal and policy head Vijaya Gadde, according to a WSJ report. Several top executives including CMO Leslie Berland also left the company after the firing of top executives.

With inputs from Abhijit Ahaskar

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