Pepperjam to lay off 20 percent of staff

i Mar 28th 2018

By Denise Allabaugh, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

WILKES-BARRE — Internet marketing company Pepperjam is laying off 20 percent of staff at its six offices, including its headquarters in the Innovation Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre, company spokeswoman Tara Siegel said.

Siegel could not provide a specific number of employees losing their jobs in Wilkes-Barre, but she said about 100 still work there.

She said she didn’t have a final number who were notified of layoffs on Tuesday.

“It’s just simply a business decision,” Siegel said. “We’re trying to keep our operating expenses in line with our revenues. It was strictly a business decision that we had to eliminate some positions.”

Pepperjam also has offices in Conshohocken; Tempe, Arizona, and Santa Cruz, California, as well as internationally in Toronto and London.

Local entrepreneur Kris Jones founded Pepperjam in 1999 as a gourmet food company, selling products based on his late grandmother’s recipes, and it later became an internet marketing company.

The company was sold to GSI Commerce in 2009 and eBay acquired it in 2011 for $2.4 billion.

In 2015, eBay Enterprise was sold for $925 million to a consortium consisting of Sterling Partners, a U.S.-based private equity firm; Longview Asset Management, a Europe-based asset-management company; Innotrac, a U.S.-based e-commerce fulfillment company and undisclosed companies owned by global investment fund Permira.

Pepperjam was formerly called eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions but reverted back to its original name in 2016.

Michael Jones, who formerly served as CEO, is no longer with Pepperjam.

Matt Gilbert was appointed CEO in January.

According to a press release from Pepperjam, Gilbert has more than 20 years of experience in digital advertising and marketing.

He joined Pepperjam from social marketing services and technology company Kinetic. Prior to that, he co-founded the retail loyalty startup “500friends,” which sold to digital marketing company Merkle.

He also held other leadership positions in digital marketing including Webloyalty.com and Ask Jeeves Inc.

Pepperjam occupies the third floor of the Innovation Center and Siegel said company officials are committed to the city and there are “no plans to exit the Wilkes-Barre location.”

Siegel could not say how many employees work at all Pepperjam offices but she said the headquarters in Wilkes-Barre employs the most people.