Alphabet-owned Verily cuts 15% workforce to simplify operating model


Alphabet-owned life sciences firm Verily is downsizing 15% of its workforce to simplify its operating model, according to a company blog post. The move comes just months after the company raised $1 billion.

The blog post, which contains the email sent by Chief Executive Stephen Gillert to all its employees, notes that the downsizing is part of the company’s One Verily program, which aims to reduce redundancy and simplify operational aspects within the company.

“I have promised you all transparency in what we’re doing, and this means we have eliminated approximately 15 percent of Verily roles due to discontinued programs… and redundancy in the new, centralized organization,” Gillert said in the post.  

Verily, which has approximately 1,600 employees, is expected to let go of close to 240 employees. The company did not respond to an email requesting comments.

Analysts cheered Verily’s move to streamline operations.

“Verily’s strategy to opt out of its remote patient monitoring and multiple channels of engagement enables it to streamline its operations, to better align with healthcare ecosystems, which are more patient-centric with better risk management,” said IDC Research Director Calvin Lau, and Senior Research Manager Manoj Vallikkat.

“This refreshed approach is set to provide more focused and evidence-based future patient connectivity,” the analysts added.

Verily’s Health Data Architect Brian K Fung took to LinkedIn to post about some of his colleagues who had lost their jobs and said the impacted roles included analysts, UI/UX engineers, and data managers among others.

One Verily v/s Google’s Simplicity Sprint

The reduction in role at the life sciences company is the first time that any Alphabet subsidiary has announced layoffs since August last year when technology companies started downsizing their workforce in order to prepare for the expected economic downturn.

Googlers received the first bout of bad news in July when the company announced it was putting in place a hiring freeze and followed it up with a program, dubbed Simplicity Sprint, to boost staff efficiency and productivity. The move followed Alphabet posting weaker-than-expected revenue for the two consecutive quarters.

The life sciences company’s One Verily program is oddly reminiscent of the Simplicity Sprint program as CEO Gillert wrote to employees about taking a more efficient path to continued commercial success.

“We are making changes that refine our strategy, prioritize our product portfolio and simplify our operating model. We will advance fewer initiatives with greater resources,” the CEO wrote, stressing on the need to balance resources with business outcomes.   

What is changing under the new plan?

As part of the new One Verily program, the company said it will move from multiple lines of business to one centralized product organization with increasingly connected healthcare solutions.

“We will center our strategy on closing the gap between research and care, and becoming the data and evidence backbone for precision health, with a focus on applying AI and data science to accelerate learning and improve outcomes,” Gillert wrote.

The move to close the gap between research and products, according to Lau and Vallikkat, is a promising strategy as it promises a “closer ecosystem alignment and is set to bring better compliance to privacy and security.”

“Verily will strengthen partnerships with key stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem to provide more feasible, practical and personalized healthcare solutions to patients, through its unified One Verily model,” the analysts added.

Products shelved and changes in leadership

Under the new plan, the life sciences company has decided to discontinue the development of its analytics platform Verily Value Suite and some early-stage products, including its work in remote patient monitoring for heart failure and microneedles for drug delivery.

“While these programs are promising and led by talented Veeps, and some of their innovations will integrate into our other core solutions, we cannot do everything and have had to make some difficult choices,” Gillert wrote, adding that some employees working in
these projects will be redeployed while others will be terminated.

Gillert, who became CEO in January, also said that the company was making changes to the leadership team with Amy Abernethy expanding her to become president of product development and chief medical officer; and Scott Burke expanding his responsibilities as Verily’s chief technology officer.

Lisa Greenbaum, according to Gillert’s mail, will expand her responsibilities in a new chief commercial officer role that oversees sales, marketing, and corporate strategy teams.

Verily is also expected to hire a chief scientific officer soon.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.



This story originally Appeared on ComputerWorld

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