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The layoffs at The Walt Disney Co. will start this week.
In a memo to employees Monday, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company will now begin the process of notifying impacted staff, with two more rounds of cuts planned in the next couple of months.
Iger said in February that the company would shed 7,000 jobs as the company restructures around three core divisions: Disney Entertainment, ESPN, and Parks, Experiences and Products. The cuts are “necessary for creating a more effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to our business,” Iger wrote on March 27, adding that senior leaders have been evaluating their operational needs since he announced the cuts.
Iger said in his memo that a second round of layoffs planned for April will be “larger” than the round this week, with “several thousand” cuts set to take place at that time. A third round of cuts will take place “before the beginning of the summer to reach our 7,000-job target.”
“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,” Iger added. “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.”
Iger returned as Disney’s CEO in November, with his successor and predecessor Bob Chapek departing after only about two and a half years on the job.
“The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period,” Disney’s board chair Susan Arnold said at the time.
In his first move after taking over, Iger ousted Chapek lieutenant Kareem Daniel, who ran the Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution Division, which was responsible for essentially all of the company’s non-parks revenue. Iger subsequently said that DMED would be shuttered so that strategic decision-making and financial responsibility could return to the creative divisions.
Dana Walden and Alan Bergman were tapped to oversee Disney Entertainment, with Jimmy Pitaro continuing to lead ESPN, and Josh D’Amaro running the parks and products division.
It is not immediately clear what impact the cuts this week will have on Disney’s corporate structure, or which divisions will be impacted, though the three rounds are expected to involve essentially every division of the company.
Iger’s memo on March 27 is below.
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.
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