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CEO apologizes for quoting Martin Luther King Jr. when announcing layoffs

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February 2, 2023
By Talent Canada

Jennifer Tejada, CEO of PagerDuty. Photo: LinkedIn

A tech CEO has issued an apology after she quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in a layoff announcement.

Jennifer Tejada, CEO of PagerDuty, sent an email to all employees on Jan. 24. It outlined plans to eliminate about seven per cent of its roles, the vast number of which are in North America.

Near the end, she said: “I am reminded in moments like this, of something Martin Luther King said, that “the ultimate measure of a [leader] is not where [they] stand in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where [they] stand in times of challenge and controversy.”

Three days later, she issued an apology to all employees.


“The way I communicated layoffs distracted from our number one priority: showing care for the employees we laid off, and demonstrating the grace, respect, and appreciation they and all of you deserve,” said Tejada.

“There are a number of things I would do differently if I could. The quote I included from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was inappropriate and insensitive. I should have been more upfront about the layoffs in the email, more thoughtful about my tone, and more concise. I am sorry.”

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