Disney layoffs total 4,000 jobs after larger second wave


Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, during an interview with CNBC, February 9, 2023.

Randy Shropshire | CNBC

disney began its second wave of layoffs on Monday, bringing the total number of job cuts in recent weeks to 4,000 at the end of the latest round.

Earlier this year, Disney announced it would cut 7,000 jobs from its workforce as part of a broader corporate reorganization that would cut costs by $5.5 billion. The announcement was made during Bob Iger’s first earnings call since returning as CEO.

Disney officials said Monday they don’t take the departure of so many colleagues lightly. Cutting 7,000 jobs from its workforce equates to about 3% of the roughly 220,000 people employed by Disney as of Oct. 1, according to a securities filing, including about 166,000 in the United States and about 54,000 internationally.

Disney informed employees of a first wave of layoffs on March 27, which saw cuts to its Metaverse Strategies unit and part of its Beijing office.

The second round, which ends Thursday, will affect various divisions of the company, including Disney Entertainment and ESPN, as well as Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. The affected jobs will span across the country, from Burbank, California, to New York and Connecticut. CNBC announced last week that layoffs would begin soon at ESPN.

ESPN is eliminating off-camera employees first in all three rounds of cuts and will conduct a separate talent review over the summer, which will culminate in additional cuts and non-renewals of contracts, one said. people familiar with the matter. ESPN is cutting less than 100 jobs this round, the person said.

“As we move forward as a core segment of Disney, with operational control and financial accountability, we must further identify ways to be efficient and agile,” ESPN CEO Jimmy Pitaro wrote in a note. to employees obtained by CNBC. “We will act with compassion, respect for our colleagues and professionalism in the face of these difficult circumstances.”

Disney said it plans to begin its third wave of layoffs before the start of the summer in order to reach the 7,000 goal. Disney has previously said it does not expect the layoffs to affect its hourly employees at its parks and resorts.

Iger said earlier this year Disney’s cost cuts would include a $3 billion cut in content spending, excluding sports, and the remaining $2.5 billion from non-content cuts. . At this point, Disney executives said about $1 billion in cost cutting has already been underway since last quarter.

The cost-cutting measures at Disney come as media companies have cut spending on content — and spending in general — as they seek to make their streaming business profitable. The reorganization was also put in place while Disney was still in the midst of a proxy battle with Nelson Peltz and his company Trian Management. Shortly after the announcement, Peltz called off his proxy war.

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