Google chief tells staff not to 'equate fun with money' and denies claims of 'aggressive' cost cuts, report says

Google chief tells staff not to 'equate fun with money' and denies claims of 'aggressive' cost cuts, report says
Google CEO Sundar Pichai.Jerod Harris/Getty Images
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai faced tough questions from staff in a fiery all-hands meeting this week.
  • He said workers shouldn't "equate fun with money" in response to questions about cost-cutting.

Google's CEO has denied the company is embarking on "aggressive cost saving" and told staff they should not "equate fun with money" at an all-hands meeting this week, CNBC first reported.

The search giant's spending was under scrutiny at the company-wide briefing in New York where Sundar Pichai said growth would be "constrained" going forward.

Pichai was asked why Google was "nick-and-diming employees" by cutting travel budgets and moving away from "rapidly hiring and spending", despite it having "record profits and huge cash reserves".

"I remember when Google was small and scrappy," Pichai said, CNBC reported. "We shouldn't always equate fun with money. I think you can walk into a hard-working startup and people may be having fun and it shouldn't always equate to money."

Google's owner, Alphabet, reported a 14% fall in profit for the second quarter of this year to $16 billion, compared with the same period last year, but revenues jumped 13% to just over $69 billion.

Pichai said the company was acting responsibly during one of the most difficult economic periods this decade and urged that staff pull together to help weather the storm.

"I'm a bit concerned that you think what we've done is what you would define as aggressive cost saving," he said, CNBC reported. "I think it's important we don't get disconnected. You need to take a long-term view through conditions like this."

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A Google spokesperson told the broadcaster: "Sundar has been speaking to the company consistently over the last few months about ways we can be more focused."

The spokesperson added the company's "leaders are working to be responsible and efficient in all that their teams do" and that "ensuring that our people are working on the highest impact/highest priority work."

Google did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.