Software company TogetherSoft has reduced its work force by 11 people, including three executive-level managers, one of which has already been replaced.
Among those let go were Grace Ueng, hired earlier this year as vice president of marketing, and Donald Fluken, chief operating officer hired just last November. Steve Morrison, chief counsel for TogetherSoft also is no longer with the company, having resigned two weeks ago. Most of the other eight employees let go were in sales, the company says.
Keith Boswell, who has been hired to replace Ueng as vice president of marketing, says the layoffs were part of a streamlining at TogetherSoft orchestrated by John “Beau” Vrolyk, the interim chief executive officer since late February, when he replaced Peter Coad. Coad stepped aside to become the chief strategy officer.
“Vrolyk was looking at how the company was structured and what kinds of skill sets were in place, aware that the structure had been laid on an older, smaller company, where certain people and skills didn’t match where he wanted to take it,” Boswells tells Local Tech Wire. “He wanted to streamline the number of layers between him and the rest of the company, flattening the organization and make it more efficient, with a faster reaction time between, say, sales and the decisions the company makes.”
Boswell, who also has 10 years of experience as a developer with companies such as AT&T Software, says he was brought on in place of Ueng to give TogetherSoft a more technical, product marketing background.
“With Grace, it had nothing to do with performance,” Boswell explains. “I respect her greatly, and she was a wonderful VP of marketing. But the market space we address now requires a software product skills set rather than a broader consumer background.”
As for Fluken, his departure results from a difference in management styles between former CEO Coad and interim CEO Vrolyk, as Shawn Ramsey-Kroboth, TogetherSoft’s director of public relations, explains it.
“Fluken was vital to Coad,” says Ramsey-Kroboth. “But one of Beau’s stronger sides is managing the performance of the company, so there was an overlap between Beau and Fluken’s role, so Don stepped aside.”
Ramsey-Kroboth says after releasing 11 employees, the work force is at 414 people, but that the figure changes daily as TogetherSoft recruits new hires. In 2000, the company had 275 employees at its headquarters on the grounds of N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus.
While declining to give any specific projections for the year, Boswell says he does expect to expand his marketing team by five or so in the next 90 days, reflecting a renewed focus for the company in that area.
“Marketing is a growing part of TogetherSoft’s maturation process,” Boswell says. “We are not known for our marketing presence. We’re loved among our customer base and by world of mouth, but we’re not here because of our marketing machine and muscle. But if we’ve been this big and successful so far, add marketing, and we have nowhere to go but up. We’re transitioning from technology to market driven, and they are putting the money behind me to bring people on board to help.”