- Channel 5
- Exclusive: BuzzFeed UK’s founding editor-in-chief has been made redundant.
- He is one of 45 staff being let go as part of a global cost-cutting programme.
Luke Lewis, the man who launched BuzzFeed in the UK, has been made redundant after nearly five years.
Lewis was appointed as BuzzFeed UK’s founding editor-in-chief in March 2013, but has been working as the company’s head of European growth since December 2015.
He is one of 45 members of staff being made redundant in the UK as part of a global cost-cutting programme announced in December last year.
Lewis told Business Insider: “Five years on from launching BuzzFeed UK I decided to take voluntary redundancy as part of the restructure.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we achieved together, and count myself lucky in the latter part of my time there to have launched new editions and products alongside talented, committed BuzzFeeders all over the world.”
Around 20 editorial employees have announced their departure on Twitter (all listed here). They include Editorial Director Tom Phillips, Editor-At-Large Robin Edds, and Jamie Ross, a reporter based in Scotland.
The flurry of tweets has been so pronounced, that they have become known as “last day at BuzzFeed” among some observers on Twitter.
If any of my followers happen to be enigmatic billionaires who fancy starting their own digital media company, may I suggest searching "last day at buzzfeed" on twitter dot com today to find the best, scrappiest, most talented writers and illustrators to make up your staff.
— Hannah Jewell (@hcjewell) January 18, 2018
The 45 redundancies are around a third of BuzzFeed UK’s 140 staff. Another 55 will also lose their jobs in the US.
It comes against a backdrop of missed revenue targets. BuzzFeed has come in 15-20% short of its $350 million (£260 million) goal, dampening prospects of an imminent IPO.
Lewis joined BuzzFeed from NME.com, where he was the editor. Former Guardian journalist Janine Gibson is BuzzFeed UK’s current editor-in-chief. BuzzFeed UK was the website’s first international edition.
This story was updated to reflect the fact that Luke Lewis took voluntary redundancy. It originally cited sources who said that his departure was not voluntary.