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Blue Origin's exodus of top staffers followed its CEO's demand for all staff to return to the office, reports say

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Bob smith
Bob Smith and Jeff Bezos. Reuters
  • Blue Origin's talent exodus followed pressure for all staff to return to the office, CNBC reported.

  • Sources told the outlet on Friday that the company's attrition rate has soared past 20%.

  • A Blue Origin spokesperson said the rate was similar to other firms', amid the "Great Resignation."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Blue Origin's recent loss of many top employees followed a call for all staff to return to the office.

Multiple sources told CNBC that the departures were a direct reflection of CEO Bob Smith's pressure to end remote working across the company.

Sources also said that the company's attrition rate passed 20% for this year.

A Blue Origin spokesperson told CNBC that attrition "has never exceeded 12.7%" on an annualized rate, which measures employee departures over the last 12 months. Typically, Blue Origin's annual turnover rate is 8% to 9%, sources familiar with the situation said.

"We are seeing attrition rates comparable to those reported by other companies as part of what many are calling 'The Great Resignation,'" the spokesperson said.

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

Earlier this year, 17 top staffers at Blue Origin left the company, with many departing in the weeks after founder Jeff Bezos flew into space, Insider's Kevin Shalvey reported.

Per a previous CNBC report, those leaving the space firm included New Shepard SVP Steve Bennett, chief of mission assurance Jeff Ashby and senior director of recruiting Crystal Freund.

Some of the departures were noteworthy because of their timing. They followed an announcement that SpaceX would be awarded a $2.9 billion contract for a moon lander for the Artemis missions.

Friday's CNBC report noted that the plan for all employees to return to the office in September, known as the "Blue Back Together," initiative, ruffled feathers.

Hundreds of workers signed a petition asking the company to at least implement a more flexible work model, but it was never acknowledged by Smith, the report said.

CNBC said that the views of its anonymous sources in many ways mirrored those of the 21 current and former Blue Origin employees who published an open letter alleging a toxic, sexist, and unsafe work culture.

Insider's Sinéad Baker and Grace Kay reported that the letter also accused Bezos of sacrificing safety in an effort to win the billionaire space race.

Read the original article on Business Insider