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Davos 2023: Palantir CEO predicts hiring while preparing for economic slowdown

Palantir Technologies Inc is still looking to grow its headcount even as it scrutinizes its spending and confronts economic uncertainty, its chief executive told Reuters.

January 17, 2023
By Jeffrey Dastin
17 January 2023

By Jeffrey Dastin

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Palantir
Technologies Inc is still looking to grow its headcount
even as it scrutinizes its spending and confronts economic
uncertainty, its chief executive told Reuters.

The U.S. software company in 2023 expects to add a couple
hundred people to its roughly 3,500 staff, in line with prior
years of expansion just as peers in the technology industry are
firing people, CEO Alex Karp said on the sidelines of the World
Economic Forum in Davos.

Vociferously contrarian, the company for years planned for
war, political upheaval and a souring economy – though not a
pandemic, “the only disaster I think we did not predict,” Karp
said, joking that Palantir had “a basement filled with things
prepared (but) no masks.”

Palantir has clinched more business following Russia’s war
with Ukraine, selling software to visualize an army’s positions
as well as help enterprises vet their supply chains or reduce
costs. Still, its stock is down more than 50% in the past year
like other tech companies.

Economists surveyed by the World Economic Forum largely
expect a recession this year.

Asked about potential cuts, Karp said Palantir was doing
well in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada while
evaluating spend in slower markets.

“Things could get much, much worse, and then of course
everything’s on the table,” Karp said.

The economy already is pinching Palantir’s customers. Karp
said one of clients’ top-ten priorities was reducing what they
were spending on cloud-computing, and Palantir was partnering
with Cloudflare Inc to monitor such usage.

“They’re under enormous cost pressure. This is just a huge
cost center, and they need to find ways to do the same things
cheaper,” he said. The top cloud providers are Amazon,
Microsoft and Google, though Karp said his
company is “cloud agnostic.”
(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in Davos, Switzerland; Editing by
Josie Kao)

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