Athenahealth Lays Off 100s of Workers, Closes Satellite Offices

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Watertown’s biggest employer and owner of the Arsenal on the Charles complex had big layoffs Thursday and closed offices in other locations.

The Boston Business Journal reported that the company laid off 400 people, including some at the Watertown headquarters, and closed offices in San Francisco and Princeton, N.J. The Boston Globe put the layoffs at 500, or 9 percent of the overall workforce. Athenahealth had about 2,300 employees in Watertown.

“We do not take the decision to reduce our workforce lightly, but these are necessary changes to enable athenahealth to succeed over the long-term,” the company said in a statement.

The job cuts come at the same time that Athenahealth has teamed with the town and the state on a multi-million dollar project based on adding jobs at its Watertown headquarters. The company is also in the midst of a major redevelopment of the Arsenal on the Charles.

Watertown Town Council President Mark Sideris told the Boston Globe he is still confident Athenahealth will be a major economic force in town, but added he does keep a close eye what is happening with the company.

The company working with the Town of Watertown and the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation to make $25 million in improvements to public infrastructure to areas around the campus that was originally part of the U.S. Army’s Watertown Arsenal. In the program, called I-Cubed, the work is paid for with bonds from the state that are paid back by increased taxes generated by the additional employees.

When making the I-Cubed agreement, the town went a step further than required by the state by coming to an agreement with Athenahealth to let the Town to put a levy on their property to cover the company has a shortfall in taxes needed to be created to cover the cost of I-Cubed.

The job cuts come as the company – which focuses tracking performance, process claims, and manage health care administration – released its third quarter results. While the company’s revenues of $304.6 million for the quarter was up 10 percent from the same time in 2016, the net income of $13 million for the third quarter was down from $13.9 million in 2016.

The company’s stock has been steadily declining during 2017 and dropped 3.6 percent on Thursday to $116.41 a share.

2 thoughts on “Athenahealth Lays Off 100s of Workers, Closes Satellite Offices

  1. This is all part of a power struggle to remove Jonathan Bush from leadership. If that happens, his pet projects, like the whole Arsenal development will stall and the Town of Watertown will be left holding the bag.

  2. I hate to say it, but I saw this coming. The Town, without due diligence in my opinion, put all our eggs in the Athena basket. We have 600 new apartments on Arsenal Street, pushed through as housing for the imagined burgeoning hires at Athena; now that the layoffs have begun I imagine rents and property values will be coming down, followed by tax revenue. I think Fred hit the nail on the head.

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