Updated, March 10
NORWALK, Conn. – The interim CEO and founder of a formerly Norwalk-based company sent out an email Friday to his employees advertising “good news” – and on Monday laid half of them off.
The Daily Voice, formerly known as Main Street Connect, went through a major contraction Monday. It lopped off all of its Massachusetts-based employees – a chain it had bought more than a year ago, nearly a dozen sites – and laid off at least three of its Norwalk-based employees.
That includes Mark Chapman, husband of this reporter.
Main Street Connect was founded in December 2009 by Carll Tucker, the former editor and publisher of Trader Publications, a community news company in Cross River, N.Y. Its first site, TheDailyNorwalk.com, was launched in March 2010. It quickly grew to 10 sites in Fairfield County. The company went on to purchase CentralMassNews.com, a network of 10 online community news centers serving Central Massachusetts. Both Fairfield and Massachusetts groups were tweaked in the past several months, adding some sites, combining some and dropping others.
In early 2011, the company launched 32 sites at once in Westchester County. About a year ago, Zohar Yardeni, formerly of Thomson Reuters, took over as CEO; Tucker became president of the board of directors.
The company was rebranded as The Daily Voice last May.
Yardeni resigned on Friday, according to an email sent to employees Friday morning.
Tucker followed with another email Friday afternoon.
“Zohar has been a great leader — and a great human being,” he said. “He has taught us all what it means to be an Internet company. I look forward to his continued involvement with The Daily Voice as a strategic adviser.”
He then laid it on thick: “Monday morning we will share with you the news about where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. The news is good – but you’ll need to sit tight while we finalize our plans. Check your email for information about our company-wide phone conference early Monday morning. I am pumped about the prospect of working with you to build a great company.”
Late Sunday night, another TDV executive sent an email advising everyone that they would hear from their supervisors in the morning.
Mr. Chapman was informed of his layoff in a face-to-face meeting in the Norwalk office. He subsequently learned through a Facebook post from the Massachusetts editor that the entire Massachusetts chain has been let go. That source indicated layoffs as well in Westchester.
An employee shared the news about other layoffs with this reporter.