Jessica Goodfellow
Apr 6, 2020

Sojern cuts half of global workforce; senior APAC roles affected

The travel adtech firm's VP of APAC is among those affected by severe cost-cutting in an attempt to "weather the storm".

Sojern cuts half of global workforce; senior APAC roles affected

Sojern has cut around half of its global workforce—including many of its APAC staff—after being "hit hard" by the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry.

The adtech firm, which delivers targeted ads to travellers based on a database of profiles it has built with various travel companies, said it has been forced to make some "very difficult business decisions" in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ground all travel to a halt.

"COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the travel industry that is both unexpected and unprecedented," the company said in a statement. "Like many other travel companies, Sojern has been hit hard and, in order to weather this global storm, we have had to make some very difficult business decisions. Right now we are focused on ensuring that all our employees, customers and partners are well taken care of, and that we are all able to get through this difficult time together."

The company was not able to provide details of which regions were hit hardest by the staff cuts, which equate to around 300 staff. The layoffs were first reported by Adweek.

Sojern first expanded into Asia in 2015, opening a regional hub in Singapore. It has around 50 employees in Singapore, along with APAC outposts in Sydney and Hong Kong.

APAC layoffs span senior management to junior-level roles, including APAC and regional sales directors, the senior director of audience strategy and development, customer success managers, and those working in operations, product, marketing and more. Sojern's most senior APAC employee, VP of APAC Max Ueno, has been impacted by the cost-cutting, and has changed his job title to 'advisor' on LinkedIn. He is the former CEO of Buzzfeed Japan. The company's director of public relations for EMEA & APAC, Susie Bindman, revealed on LinkedIn she had been let go.

Bindman is one of several employees that took to LinkedIn to reveal the redundancies and hunt for new jobs.

Chief revenue officer Noreen Henry said of the news on LinkedIn: "It has been an incredibly difficult week [sic] Sojern. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the travel industry and like so many other companies, we had to make the gut-wrenching decision to say goodbye to a number of our beloved Sojernista’s...Sojern will work thru this crisis and will thrive on the other side as we honor the Sojern Alumni who laid the foundation for us to build from."

The company raised US$120 million in funding in late 2018 to expand into new markets and ad platforms, bringing its total funding to date to $162.5 million.

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