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Tech CEO apologizes for quoting Martin Luther King Jr. in layoff announcement

<i>Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile/Getty Images</i><br/>Jennifer Tejada
Sportsfile for Web Summit via Ge
Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile/Getty Images
Jennifer Tejada

By Rob McLean, CNN

A tech CEO is apologizing after quoting Martin Luther King Jr. in a layoffs announcement.

On January 24, PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada sent a letter to employees announcing the digital operations management company would eliminate about 7% of its workforce.

Tejada quoted King at the end of that letter.

“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,'” she wrote. “PagerDuty is a leader that stands behind its customers, its values, and our vision — for an equitable world where we transform critical work so all teams can delight their customers and build trust.”

On Friday, Tejada apologized for quoting King.

“The quote I included from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was inappropriate and insensitive,” she said in the memo. “I should have been more upfront about the layoffs in the email, more thoughtful about my tone, and more concise. I am sorry.”

When asked for additional comment, a representative for PagerDuty pointed to the blog post updated with Tejada’s apology.

The tech industry has seen a spate of layoffs in recent weeks. Amazon announced in early January that it would lay off more than 18,000 workers. And Salesforce said it plans to cut about 10% of its staff. Microsoft, meanwhile, is laying off 10,000 employees.

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