Disney Begins To Fulfill Pledge To Axe 7,000 Workers, Many Local Jobs Likely Lost
Making good on an earlier Wall Street promise to slash $5.5 billion in costs, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the media giant would begin sacking some 7,000 employees this week.
The job cuts will come in several waves over the next few months, following Iger’s February announcement to trim the workforce when Disney reported earnings.
“I want to acknowledge that there will no doubt be challenges ahead as we continue building the structures and functions that will enable us to be successful moving forward,” Iger wrote in an email sent to Disney staff on Monday.
For those employees who no longer have jobs, Iger said, “Please know that our HR partners and leaders are committed to creating a supportive and smooth process every step of the way.”
Disney has about 220,000 workers around the world, more than three-fourths of whom are full-time. Few of the cuts are expected to come from the company’s theme parks unit, which has generated strong revenues in the wake of the pandemic.
Instead, the layoffs likely will touch every Disney business unit, which include ESPN and the Burbank-based Disney Entertainment — the company’s film, television and streaming divisions. One local unit, Disney’s Creative Acquisitions Department, reportedly will be disbanded, and senior executives at Hulu, Disney TV Studios and Freeform have been let go, according to several media reports.
Iger returned to run Disney after his successor, Bob Chapek, was fired last year less than three years into the job. Largely under Chapek’s watch, Disney has lost nearly $10 billion on its streaming platforms since Disney Plus was launched in late 2019.
“This week, we begin notifying employees whose positions are impacted by the company’s workforce reductions,” Iger wrote in his staff email. “Leaders will be communicating the news directly to the first group of impacted employees over the next four days.
"A second, larger round of notifications will happen in April with several thousand more staff reductions, and we expect to commence the final round of notifications before the beginning of the summer to reach our 7,000-job target," Iger wrote.
Iger’s compensation could hit about $27 million this year, or some $10,000 every work day.
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