ryan petersen

Flexport certainly knows how to cause a stir. If the news about – what looks certain now to be the sacking of stooge Dave Clark – wasn’t enough, there is more to come.

Ryan Petersen (above), founder, and now CEO again, has this morning essentially ‘fired’ some 75 new appointments over Twitter/X.

And the tone of his tweet makes it look very much like Mr Clark had gone beyond his brief – and certainly beyond his spending limits – with costs beginning to spiral, apparently out of control.

It may have been both timely and critical for the business to cut expense, but nevertheless, it’s a brutal way to change direction.

Mr Petersen wrote: “Flexport is rescinding a bunch of signed offer letters for people who were starting as soon as this Monday. I am deeply sorry to those people who were expecting to join our company and won’t be able to at this time. It’s messed up. But no way around it, we have had a hiring freeze for months, I have no idea why more than 75 people were signed to join. Or why we had over 200 open roles are on our web site.

“All of those have been cancelled, except for a handful of roles directly tied to our most important initiatives (eg, improving timeliness of our freight services).”

And the blow will not be softened, perhaps, by his next sentence: “A Flexport team member will reach out to each of you personally asap to explain the move. I hope you will forgive us some day and even consider coming to work here again, once we get our house in order. But now would not be a good time to add more people and expenses to the company.”

It strikes an odd contrast to a tweet he wrote just 22 hours before: “We need to make better decisions. Starts with caring more about our customers, employees and shareholders. Going to be an epic ride where everybody wins!”

But that epic ride doesn’t seem to have started yet, with instead an epic race to cut expenses first in line. Mr Petersen also appears to be auctioning-off Flexport’s buildings. Another tweet this morning offered leases on office space.

“Flexport has grade A office space to sublease in San Francisco (former Dropbox HQ, the place has good juju!!), Playa Vista LA (next to Google), NYC (across from Eataly), Dallas (Old Parkland) and all around the world.

“Hit me up if you’re (sic) startup is looking for awesome space in prime locations. We have way too much for our size – we rented space for a 2x bigger team!!

“New official Flexport real estate policy is we don’t get new office space til there’s always a line at the bathroom in the current office space.”

All these tweets suggest one thing: Dave Clark is being set up as the fall guy for Flexport’s apparently growing problems.

As The Loadstar’s production editor just noted: “Bloody hell … Never seen anything like that in 50 years of journalism.”

And if that’s what our production editor thinks – what must Flexport’s customers be thinking now?

But you can certainly guess what Flexport’s competitors are thinking…

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  • Tim Gundlach

    September 08, 2023 at 2:31 pm

    oh man, this is better than any soap opera on TV. PLease don’t stop… the rest of the freight forwardng industry is in need of this after the covid years.

  • Francis Kirkwood

    September 08, 2023 at 5:50 pm

    I can see some lawsuits coming down the line especially for candidates who have resigned a position when they received and accepted a new post.
    Cutting costs is one thing cutting people’s throats is another, I hope those who have been hurt get fixed up soon
    Shocking way to operate