NBC Universal Lays Off 60 Staffers at Oxygen

Just two weeks after NBC Universal completed its acquisition of Oxygen, 25% of the network’s roughly 260 staffers were laid off Monday, over 60 people.

Oxygen staffers were informed of the layoffs during a series of meetings with NBCU officials Monday. The cuts, across various departments, had been anticipated as NBU begins its process of integrating its $875 million purchase.

“We have tried to minimize the impact to the affected employees as much as possible, either offering them opportunities within NBCU where available, or paying them through the end of the year and providing them with enhanced severance packages and outplacement services,” Jean-Briac Perrette, NBCU president of digital distribution and the Oxygen integration leader, said in a statement about the layoffs.

Monday morning, Oxygen president and chief operating officer Lisa Gersh sent an email regarding the impending staff cuts to employees.

“As many of you know, members of the NBCU staff will be in our New York, Dallas and Los Angeles offices today to discuss with each of you the impact of the integration on your jobs,” Gersh, who will be staying on with NBCU, told Oxygen employees.

“They have worked hard over the past several weeks to make the tough decisions about how to move this company forward – and who will remain with Oxygen as the company integrates into NBCU,” Gersh said. “None of their decisions were easy – it is all the more difficult when you are looking at a company like Oxygen – a company that is full of stars.”

In closing, Gersh wrote. “This kind of process is never easy on a company – and even harder on a company like Oxygen where passion rules the day. To all of you – thank you.”

Perrette said that during the past several weeks NBCU and Oxygen have worked closely to assess the best organizational structure for the business going forward.

“As with most integrations, we have consolidated functions and operations, resulting in job impact,” he said in his statement. “While these decisions are never easy, they have been made after a great deal of thought and careful consideration about what is best for the business.”

Even before the sale closed in November, Debby Beece, Oxygen’s president of programming and marketing, left the network.

The closing of the Oxygen acquisition was announced Nov. 20, with Lauren Zalaznick, president of Bravo Media, put in charge of the women’s network.