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Logistics startup rescinds dozens of job offers amid messy executive drama

By Allison Morrow, CNN

New York (CNN) — Flexport founder Ryan Petersen said his supply chain management firm would rescind dozens of job offers just days before many applicants were scheduled to start work — a move that followed a dramatic leadership shakeup this week.

“I am deeply sorry to those people who were expecting to join our company and won’t be able to at this time,” Petersen wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday. “It’s messed up. But no way around it.”

Petersen wrote that he had “no idea why 75 people were signed to join.” He said more than 200 open job posts on Flexport’s website would also be canceled while Flexport gets its “house in order.”

In a follow-up post, he said: “We’re going to help them find jobs. Can’t just give out cash tho.”

A Flexport spokesperson said the company didn’t have additional comment beyond Petersen’s tweets.

The rescinded offers came at the end of a wild week for the San Francisco-based firm, which Petersen founded in 2013. Flexport may not be well known to most Americans outside of Silicon Valley but has a high profile in the Bay Area for its focus on supply chain and shipping software. The firm raised more than $2 billion from venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sofbank and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, with recent funding rounds valuing Flexport as much as $8 billion.

Petersen spoke critically of Thiel’s support for former president Donald Trump in 2016. In a 2023 company post, he explained his interest in angel investing and in joining Thiel’s Founders Fund as a partner. He wrote that he’s invested in more than 100 angel investments including in companies such as Rippling, Carta, and Deliverr.

On Wednesday, Dave Clark, a former Amazon executive who became Flexport’s CEO just one year ago, announced that he was resigning. Clark hinted at differences with Petersen, citing the founder’s “desire to return to focusing on growth in the core freight business.”

Petersen, who had become executive chairman of Flexport, returned to his role as CEO after Clark resigned. Soon after, at least six high-level employees hired by Clark, were dismissed, according to several media reports.

In 2022, Flexport topped CNBC’s “Disruptor” list, winning praise for its use of technology to improve global supply chains and modernize the freight-forwarding industry, which “tends to be opaque, filled with arcane regulations, bogged down by analog processes,” the outlet wrote in May.

In January, the company laid off 20% of its global workforce, or about 600 people. Clark and Petersen, who were co-CEOs at the time, said that the company was “overall in a good position” but “not immune to the macroeconomic downturn that has impacted businesses around the world.”

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