Red Hat Layoffs Hit Project Managers, Customer Success Team
CRN reviewed dozens of LinkedIn posts from recently laid off Red Hat employees. Here’s what they have to say about being part of the nearly 800 Red Hatters being let go.
Red Hat is laying off nearly 800 employees including several senior and principal project managers, as well as top members of the company’s customer success team.
CRN reviewed dozens of LinkedIn posts from recently laid off Red Hat employees, known as Red Hatters, many of whom held manager positions and had been with the open-source software company for many years.
“I’ve worn a lot of [Red Hat] fedoras over the 16-plus years I’ve been with this company,” said Neil Doane, principal program manager for Red Hat’s North America customer success operations, in a LinkedIn post announcing his termination. “I led Red Hat’s NA SRM team, created and led the global CEE (Customer Experience and Engagement) PMO, and have been blessed the last few years to be part of the amazing NA Services Ops leadership team. I’ve been tackling the challenges of continual change and transformation as long as I’ve worn our iconic felt cap and it will be hard to see it end.”
[Related: Red Hat Layoffs: Cuts, ‘Cultural Change’, CEO Decision—5 Key Things To Know]
Another top customer success manager hit by the layoffs is seven-year Red Hat veteran Raphaelle Reaves, who was a project manager for customer success operations at the software company.
“While it’s unsettling to see my Red Hat journey come to an end, I am so thankful for my time there where I got to work with amazing, talented and passionate people,” Reaves said on LinkedIn. “I grew so much as a project manager and as an individual because of all the wonderful connections and friendships I made.”
Global Ecosystem, Data And Analytics Managers Let Go
Other managers outside Red Hat’s customer success team were also hit, including Ted Copeland, senior project manager for enterprise data and analytics at Red Hat.
“A little over ten years ago, I accepted a job at Red Hat to write test automation for a Salesforce instance,” said Copeland. “Since then: I’ve built applications, trained new teams, volunteered, changed career tracks twice (maybe three times depending on who you ask), been an onboarding buddy, planned 6 Red Hat Agile Days, and worked with so, so many brilliant and wonderful people. I’m sad that my time here is ending, but so glad that I had the time at all.”
Shelley Snell, program manager for Red Hat’s global ecosystem compliance operations program, was also let go after over five years with the company.
“I started as an Executive Assistant at Red Hat in 2018, after 8 years of teaching Middle School Math. Within two years, I was the Project Manager for Partner Compliance and took our vetting process from the ground up,” Snell said. “Here we are in 2023 with a highly successful automated process that I run globally.”
Emmanuel Wilder, was manager of Red Hat’s Data Solutions, leading initiatives to design and build reporting tools, information dashboards, data generators and other end-user information portals or resources.
“I want to thank everyone I met and worked with at Redhat. You all have impacted my life in a way I will not forget,” said Wilder, who was with Red Hat for over five years. “While this is not news anyone would like to hear, I am excited about finding out what my next for my career.”
Other Red Hat employees who took to LinkedIn to let their social network know they’ve been laid off include: Sarah Harvey, principal internal communications strategist who worked at the company for 11 years; Karen Hinchey, a senior manager for Red Hat’s transformational programs; Robert Winchester, a manager of customer success at Red Hat; and Bryan Totty, a senior technical program manager responsible for security processes and communications across Red Hat’s open-source Linux-based software portfolio.
Other Red Hat employees who were software engineers, data scientists and content and digital communities’ managers also posted their layoff news to LinkedIn.
Red Hat’s 800 Layoffs
On Monday, the Raleigh, N.C.-based open source company confirmed it would be laying off “just under” 4 percent of its global 20,000 workforce. This means nearly 800 employees would be terminated.
“We must continue to sharpen our focus and do fewer things better,” said Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks in a letter to employees. “This will be difficult for all of us; there is no way around that.”
Hicks said the layoffs would hit general and administrative (G&A) and similar roles across all functions. He specifically said Red Hat will not reduce roles directly selling to customers or positions that involving building and creating Red Hat products.
CEO: Reason For Layoffs
Over the past few quarters, each member of Red Hat’s corporate leadership team considered what a “best-in-class organization” looks like for their function and articulated a vision for their organization over the next few years—including the talent and skills needed to execute that vision, according to Hicks.
“I know it is hard to reconcile that we are a successful, growing company and still need to take these hard actions. At the core of this decision is the need to rebalance where we are investing to enable Red Hat’s future,” said Hicks.
He said over the years, Red Hat created more offerings without removing “other things” from the system. “Once things exist, we rarely revisit them and earnestly question if they are delivering what we need them to with measurable impact. Sometimes, even when things are performing well, we must still make an intentional decision to simplify and focus,” Hicks said. “Each added priority results in more complexity over time, and as big teams get bigger, we start investing more in the process than the outcome of the process.”
Hicks told Red Hat employees who are remaining with the company that they must sharpen their focus and do “fewer things better.”
“Our ways of operating must evolve—there will be a required change in the work we all do. We must be willing to engage and learn the intersections between our teams and to manage them more directly, with fewer layers of interface,” Red Hat’s CEO said. “This is not work we can delegate to others; instead, we must put our energy into simplifying our structure.”