Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy’s first all-hands meeting cut short after laid-off employees crash it

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In this photo illustration the Peloton Interactive logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen.
Rafael Henrique | LightRocket | Getty Images

Peloton held a virtual all-hands meeting Wednesday that was meant to introduce its new CEO, Barry McCarthy.

Instead, a conversation between McCarthy and former CEO John Foley was abruptly cut short, according to three people familiar with the details of the meeting.

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Current and former employees started firing off angry comments about this week’s announced job cuts and accusations of mismanagement in the chat function, messages obtained by CNBC show.

“I’m selling all my Peloton apparel to pay my bills!!!,” wrote one person.

“This is awfully tone deaf,” said another.

“The company messed up by allowing people who were fired into this chat,” another user wrote. “Too late to mod [moderate] this.”

Toward the end of the conversation, McCarthy was asked if employees who had been laid off had somehow gained access to the chat, to which he replied: “No comment.” Ultimately, the call ended sooner than it was scheduled to last.

A Peloton spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

The situation suggests McCarthy will face numerous challenges ahead. The former tech executive is tasked with getting the company back to profitability, but he will need to boost employee morale.

The connected fitness equipment maker is slashing costs across its business and part of that will come from the elimination of about 20% of its corporate workforce, or 2,800 jobs. Peloton’s fitness instructors will not be impacted.

McCarthy told Peloton employees in an email on Tuesday that he plans to work very closely with Foley through the changes. He called the restructuring a “bitter pill.” But, McCarthy said, “either revenue had to grow faster or spending had to shrink.”

Meantime, workers who learned this week that they lost their jobs at Peloton have started collectively helping each other look for new positions, across social media platform LinkedIn.

By Wednesday afternoon, a publicly accessible spreadsheet that was created by former Peloton workers had collected more than 250 names and email addresses of people seeking employment.

Peloton has offered impacted workers cash severance, career services and a monthly Peloton membership for 12 months.

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