Corporate Executive Board Offers Voluntary Layoff Package

Photo courtesy of
‘food lines’
courtesy of ‘woodleywonderworks’

Despite how often we hear that DC is the closest thing to a “recession-proof” town because of all the government jobs here, private sector businesses continue to feel the crunch of tightening credit markets and an economy in which companies are cutting back on discretionary spending. Yesterday Arlington-based Corporate Executive Board announced that 155 employees accepted voluntary buyout packages.  The company, which sells best-practice research mainly to Fortune 500 companies has seen a 14% drop in revenue to $117.4 million this past quarter, according to Washington Business Journal. And just after having recently consolidated its multiple DC-based offices into one massive corporate tower directly across the waterfront in Rosslyn, CEB had to lease 172,000 square feet of space to Deloitte. I interviewed at CEB a short while back and remembered thinking “man, there’s a lot of empty space around here…” Evidently they were planning to grow a lot more…

The buyouts were reportedly not offered to executives, critical staff, or sales staff, and the company will take a charge of $6 million to pay for severance and benefits. The early buyouts come after CEB announced in February that it planned to cut 15% of its staff. Of its more than 2500 employees, 1800 are local to the DC-area.

Liam Darmody moved to DC in 2001 by way of Boston, Beverly Hills, and Toronto, Canada (his home and native land) to pursue his dream of becoming a politician. He changed his dream upon meeting actual politicians and has since been seen eating, drinking, shopping, golfing (poorly), blogging, and goofing off in general around our fair city. By day he works socially as a product manager, and by night he’s all over the place. Connect with him digitally via Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn, or Facebook, or by e-mail at ldarmody at welovedc dot com.

8 thoughts on “Corporate Executive Board Offers Voluntary Layoff Package

  1. Be glad you (presumably) didn’t get the job. CEB is probably one of the least interesting places to work in the whole world. I temped there for a month or so when I first got to the city and while the dress code was very relaxed, just about everything else was a nightmare in terms of mental stimulation. I would expect that many of those 155 were glad to have a reason to leave. CEB is where the business majors of the world go to die.

  2. Makes me so very relieved that I turned down a job there a few years ago for a much more stimulating and (so far) secure job.

  3. Seems like I should have sold my stock earlier!

    Always seemed like a stupid company selling gibberish to corporations that overpaid.

  4. Even though I worked there for a month, I’ve never been able to articulate what, exactly, the company does. My main job was pulling reports from a website and printing everything, often multiple times, and sending out packages of their best practices guides. I couldn’t figure out why a company would pay for these things or where they got the data from. I suppose they reserve that information for some other part of their incredibly rigid hierarchy.

    The hierarchy was probably one of the most interesting parts, actually. First you started as a lowly assistant-type person. Temps were below this and did runover work from the assistant positions. Then you moved up to some selling-related position and then you had to try to win back businesses that had canceled the service. You had to play really aggressive seller to people that had already decided they didn’t want your product before you could move up to the next rung and target new companies.

    Seemed like a huge pyramid scheme to me. And everyone more or less appeared a) boring b) jerky c) soulless d) underpaid but e) attractive.

  5. Addison is right — involuntary layoffs began yesterday although the company apparently failed to mention that in their earnings call today.

  6. I currently work at CEB and I do take offense at some of the comments on this board. CEB, like all jobs, is primarily what you make of it. Yes, if you don’t want to do business research or sales perhaps its not for you. But I started in the same crappy temping position (which was NO worse than any other temping position) less than two years ago. Today I presented a project that will impact the future direction of the business to the head of our department. So if you make it happen, there are options.

    Yes, CEB does have a very very strong corporate culture that either works for you or it doesn’t. I call it the magical frat house and sometimes I hate that aspect of it. However, I think calling the whole company jerky and soulless is a bit much. As companies go, I feel they make an effort to support volunteer efforts. I’ve had the company match my charitable donations, allowing an extra $600 for causes I care about. I’ve built a playground and refurbished a school. With several hundred of my colleagues.

    As for the VSP, it was a tough experience on both sides (taking it and not taking it). But CEB is not the only company offering such packages or having layoffs. John Deere, Best Buy, Sprint, Microsoft – all of these companies have had VSPs in this economy. Numerous companies have experienced layoffs. THIS IS A RECESSION. Repeat. THIS IS A RECESSION. Layoffs are a horrible experience for all involved. Some of my favorite people got laid off in Feb and it was tough to watch. I’m sorry they weren’t more upfront about the current situation in the call today. I did not know about the layoffs yet. But these things happen in bad economies.

    I’m not saying CEB is perfect. Everything is NOT puppies and rainbows. But it is not a scheme or a scam or the axis of evil. It is a company creating and selling a product to the best of its ability in a tough economy. Nothing more, nothing less.