GCI lays off 87 employees, citing lagging economy

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — GCI is laying off 87 employees in what the company is calling a reduction in force, according to a company spokesperson.

“These cuts were a very difficult, but unfortunately necessary business decision to ensure that GCI remains financially strong," Vice President of GCI Corporate Communications, Heather Handyside, wrote in a statement. "GCI has grown from three employees to more than 2,000 employees over the past 40 years and we hope that today’s decision helps ensure GCI can continue to serve Alaskans 40 years from now.”

An internal memo sent to employees Thursday morning cites economic headwinds, stating that "2018 overall was an extremely tough year for GCI" and "our business as a whole performed poorly," and that the company hasn't seen economic growth over the last three and a half years.

The memo was first posted online by an Alaska blogger, and Handyside verified its authenticity.

"Ron and I deeply appreciate the many contributions these employees made to GCI’s past success, and we regret that the reduction has become necessary," GCI President and COO Greg Chapados wrote in the memo, referring to GCI CEO and Co-Founder Ron Duncan.

Among the efforts to improve the company's business strategy, Chapados cites an initiative to "prevent another July 9th-style critical facilities outage," referring to a statewide service outage caused in part by a dual backup system failure in 2018.

Chapados encourages employees to support each other during the transition, and suggests that the pressure to perform is key to the company's future.

"What it will take is for us, individually and as a team, to own the various elements of our business and strive every day to execute flawlessly," Chapados says. "Execution on every front is the key to our future success."

The memo says that all affected employees will receive severance pay.

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