Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh issued a statement on Tuesday night in response to on what he called misleading press reports on Tuesday citing “massive” layoffs at his Downtown Project in Las Vegas and his own departure as leader of the operation. Essentially, the statement said, the project is only laying off 10 percent of 300 people it directly employs and that Hsieh has never been involved with day-to-day management of the project.
Hsieh wrote that the current “restructuring” is part of his five-year plan, which he posted, as well. The Downtown Project is currently in its third year, which the plan describes like this:
Year 3 – 2014 – focus on optimizing core while finding the top winners to pick as “cannonballs” to double down our bets on (in terms of additional follow-on investments, resources, and time) while streamlining our other operations
That might make good business sense, but it’s not clear that was the message conveyed to everyone when they moved to Las Vegas to become part of downtown revitalization program, which also includes a $50 million fund for investing in technology startups. Hsieh did not reference reports from local media and a former employee about questionable leadership, questionable motives and a lack of planning.