Dechra Pharmaceuticals, which closed its $200 million acquisition of Putney Inc. at midnight on Thursday, has laid off nearly one-third of the Portland company’s 60 or so employees, Maine Startups Insider has learned.
The layoffs began on Monday and continued Tuesday, Jean Hoffman, Putney’s founder and former CEO, told MSI on Wednesday.
Dechra has let go of approximately 17 people, mainly from the commercial team, which includes sales, marketing, customer service and logistics staff, according to Hoffman. The exact number of layoffs is currently unclear, partly because Hoffman heard Dechra botched the process, laying off some people they didn’t intend to, and having to call them back in.
“It all sounds pretty bizarre,” she said.
Chris Huettner, Dechra’s human resources manager, did not respond to a request for comment.
Hoffman is no longer involved with the venture-backed company, which she founded in 2006 to develop generic pharmaceuticals for pets. She says Dechra, which is owned by a British manufacturer of veterinarian products, did not want her involved after the sale closed.
“Dechra did not want me to stick around even for a handoff,” Hoffman said. “They made sure I wasn’t there when they came to the office.”
The layoffs were not unexpected given the fact Dechra has operations in Kansas and there were likely to be some redundant positions. Hoffman raised the possibility when MSI first reported in March that Putney was being acquired.
However, she was not informed beforehand about Dechra’s plans. She learned about the layoffs via friends and former colleagues still at the company. MSI confirmed Hoffman’s account with a second source close to the company.
“It’s painful,” Hoffman said. “It’s hard to watch what’s happened to these individuals, but I have a lot of confidence they’ll go on to do great things.”
Hoffman credited the Putney team with helping grow the company to its current size. It posted net revenue of $49.6 million in 2015.
While she was effectively shown the door, Hoffman said that arrangement was fine with her.
“I didn’t want to stay with another owner. I’m a founder and CEO,” she said.
After taking the summer off, Hoffman said she plans to get more involved in helping build companies in Maine.
“I’m sure I’ll be investing or becoming a board member, and looking at other opportunities going forward,” she said.