- Disney is initiating the first of three rounds of layoffs this week as part of its plan to cut 7,000 jobs across the company.
- Disney World front line workers are not expected to be part of the cuts, according to statements from Disney executives.
- The layoffs are intended to streamline Disney’s business, and will occur across all areas of the company except for hourly frontline workers in Disney’s theme parks.
- The job cuts are part of Disney’s overall efforts to trim $5.5 billion in costs, with labor cuts accounting for around $1.5 billion of the total.
Disney CEO Bob Iger announced in a memo to employees that the company will initiate the first of three rounds of layoffs this week, as part of its plan to cut 7,000 jobs across the company. Iger previously stated in February that the company would restructure around three core divisions: Disney Entertainment, ESPN, and Parks, Experiences and Products. The layoffs are intended to create a “more effective, coordinated and streamlined approach” to Disney’s business.
The memo, obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, does not specify which divisions will be affected, but it is expected that all areas of the company will face cuts. Hourly frontline workers in Disney’s theme parks are not expected to be impacted, according to a statement by Josh D’Amaro, Chairperson of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The second round of layoffs, set to take place in April, will be larger than the first and involve several thousand job cuts. The third and final round will occur before the summer in order to meet the 7,000-job reduction target.
While Florida recently revoked Disney’s special district status in the state, taking over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney’s decision to make the job cuts preceded the takeover, which is not considered a direct or significant factor in the layoffs. The job cuts are part of Disney’s overall efforts to trim $5.5 billion in costs, with labor cuts accounting for around $1.5 billion of the total. The company has been under fire for a wide range of disappointments in recent years, including a number of recent let-downs from the aimless Star Wars franchise after buying it from George Lucas for $4 billion.
Iger, who returned as Disney’s CEO in November, emphasized the importance of ensuring Disney can continue delivering exceptional entertainment to audiences and guests worldwide. He asked for employees’ understanding and collaboration during this time and expressed gratitude to those departing the company for their contributions and devotion.
This is the text of the full memo from Iger, according to The Hollywood Reporter:
Dear Fellow Employees,
As I shared with you in February, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our overall workforce by approximately 7,000 jobs as part of a strategic realignment of the company, including important cost-saving measures necessary for creating a more effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to our business. Over the past few months, senior leaders have been working closely with HR to assess their operational needs, and I want to give you an update on those efforts.
This week, we begin notifying employees whose positions are impacted by the company’s workforce reductions. 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.
The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly. This company is home to the most talented and dedicated employees in the world, and so many of you bring a lifelong passion for Disney to your work here. That’s part of what makes working at Disney so special. It also makes it all the more difficult to say goodbye to wonderful people we care about. I want to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to every departing employee for your numerous contributions and your devotion to this beloved company.
For our employees who aren’t impacted, 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. I ask for your continued understanding and collaboration during this time.
In tough moments, we must always do what is required to ensure Disney can continue delivering exceptional entertainment to audiences and guests around the world – now, and long into the future. Please know that our HR partners and leaders are committed to creating a supportive and smooth process every step of the way.
I want to thank each of you again for all your many achievements here at The Walt Disney Company.