Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made a rare appearance at The Washington Post headquarters amid layoff fears at the publishing giant that has been battling declining ad revenue and stalled online subscription growth, the media reported.
According to a report in The New York Times, Bezos, who bought the news organisation in 2013, “made a rare appearance in the newsroom, joining the morning news meeting for the first time in more than a year.”
“I’m delighted to be here and see all these faces… Let’s have a news meeting,” he told the senior staff present in the meeting on Thursday.
The billionaire sat close to The Post’s top editor, Sally Buzbee, and the publisher, Fred Ryan.
“Jeff is here for in-person meetings with Fred, Sally and staff across the newsroom,” a Post spokesperson was quoted as saying.
Bezos bought The Post for $250 million, “adding newsroom jobs and increasing its coverage areas.”
However, the business has stalled in the past year.
Last month, Ryan told the staff there would be layoffs to “put our business in the best position for future growth.”
The layoffs would be a single-digit percentage of its 2,500-strong workforce, and are expected to take place early this year.
The newspaper shut its Sunday magazine and laid off 11 newsroom employees late last year.
“We hope that Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos has heard employees’ appeals for a stop to these impending layoffs that, as far as we can tell, are not financially necessary or rooted in any informed business strategy from publisher Fred Ryan,” The Post’s union guild said in a statement.
The publication has struggled to expand its subscription business, with fewer paying subscribers last year than the three million it had in 2020.