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Zoom CEO takes 98% pay cut after laying off 1,300 employees to acknowledge his “mistakes”

The act of penance brings Eric Yuan's salary down to $10,000.

Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Following the recent trend of mass layoffs at flagship tech companies, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced Tuesday in an email to staff that the videoconferencing company would be laying off 15% of its workforce, amounting to 1,300 employees. Yuan blamed the need for layoffs on his mistakes, and in a show of penance and solidarity, stated that he would be taking a 98% pay cut this year and will not be receiving his corporate bonus:

“As the CEO and founder of Zoom, I am accountable for these mistakes and the actions we take today – and I want to show accountability not just in words but in my own actions.” said Yuan in his email. “To that end, I am reducing my salary for the coming fiscal year by 98% and foregoing my FY23 corporate bonus.”

BusinessInsider reported that this reduction would bring his salary for the upcoming fiscal year to $10,000, down from $500,000. Yuan continued to state in the email that executive staff would be taking a 20% pay cut the upcoming year and also be skipping their corporate bonus.

See also: Logitech unveils immersive video-conferencing booth, Project Ghost

The CEO went on to state that part of the blame for the layoffs was the company being too eager to bring on people while Zoom’s popularity spiked during the pandemic. Yuan said that the company tripled in size during a 24 month period to manage demand, and while the company was able to meet the needs of its consumers, mistakes were made.

“We didn’t take as much time as we should have to thoroughly analyze our teams or assess if we were growing sustainably, toward the highest priorities” lamented Yuan. “We did not take a single departure lightly – our leadership carefully examined and made decisions based on critical priorities for long-term growth, and also looked for functions that have become overly complex or duplicative.”

Yuan did note that those affected by the layoffs in the U.S. would receive up to 16 weeks in severance pay and healthcare, in addition to coaching and networking groups.

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