In a blog post published Thursday afternoon, SecondMarket founder and CEO Barry Silbert announced a big round of layoffs-- and that it was all his fault.
Citing difficulties transitioning the company from “a telephone broker of illiquid assets” to “a technology-driven reinvented stock market,” Silbert announced layoffs of “a number” of SecondMarket employees. He began his post with the declaration that he “screwed up.”
TechCrunch has reported that the move could reduce staff by as much as one third, though the company disputes that estimate. Silbert cited a “bloated cost structure” as the company’s greatest financial impediment, and recommited to a stripped down organizational model more akin to a start-up than the “bloated” competitors SecondMarket wants to unseat.
Silbert explored the pros and cons of the decision:
“This cost rationalization process has been gut wrenching for me, stressful on my leadership team and, quite frankly, the worst experience of my professional career. Yet I know it is the right thing to do and it is the right time to do it. Emerging from this process will be a company with over $25 million of cash in the bank, an expected break-even bottom line and a rapidly growing list of companies, banks, funds and student loan issuers that are joining SecondMarket. I remain extremely optimistic about SecondMarket’s future and the important role we plan to play in reinventing the stock market and redefining the modern company.”
The post ended with an endorsement of and recommendation to hire those among SecondMarket’s ranks who are “now looking for their next challenge.”