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Another round of layoffs at The Walt Disney Co. will begin this week, and it will impact every corner of the company.
Disney sources say the latest round will begin today and continue through Thursday, and will include cuts at Disney Entertainment, ESPN, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and elsewhere, impacting employees in California, New York, Connecticut and other places. The frontline operations roles at Disney’s theme parks and hotels are not expected to be impacted.
By the end of the week, the company is expected to have cut about 4,000 jobs, the sources say. In February, Disney CEO Bob Iger told employees and Wall Street analysts that the company expected to eliminate a total of 7,000 roles. A third round of cuts is expected before summer.
In a note to staff Monday morning, Disney Entertainment co-chairs Dana Walden and Alan Bergman acknowledged the cuts coming this week, and added that “restructuring in various businesses will continue for the next couple of months, and we do anticipate there will be further impacts before the summer, as previously shared.”
“Each team is in a different place in this process, and your leaders will be sharing more context for your group soon,” their memo added.
In a separate memo Monday, ESPN chief Jimmy Pitaro also disclosed the cuts to staff, writing that “we must further identify ways to be efficient and nimble.”
“We will continue to focus our workforce on initiatives that are most closely aligned with our critical priorities and emphasize decision-making and responsibility deeper into the organization,” he added.
An ESPN source said that on-air talent is not expected to be significantly impacted by the cuts this week or the third round in the coming weeks. Rather, the company is expected to take a close look at its on-air talent roster after the third round of layoffs, choosing not to renew some deals, cut others, or make other tweaks to its roster of hosts and contributors.
The first round of layoffs began in March, with the company targeting specific roles and departments that were ripe for trimming or elimination. That included the company’s “metaverse” division (technically called next generation storytelling), which had been a pet project of former CEO Bob Chapek.
It also included Marvel Entertainment, with Marvel chief Ike Perlmutter exiting, and what was left of his empire moved into other Disney divisions. Disney’s TV production and acquisitions departments were impacted, while ABC News restructured its senior leadership under Kim Godwin.
While Disney will be more than halfway to its target of 7,000 jobs by the end of the week, there are still many decisions that need to be made. And the cuts this week are expected to be deep.
“These are hard decisions and not ones we take lightly — but every decision has been made with considerable thought, and we are doing everything we can to make sure this process is conducted with respect and compassion,” Walden and Bergman added. “The senior leadership teams have been working diligently to define our future organization, and our biggest priority has been getting this right, rather than getting it done fast. We recognize that it has been a period of uncertainty and thank you all for your understanding and patience.”
Read Walden and Bergman’s memo, below.
As you all know, a few weeks ago the company began notifying employees whose roles are impacted as part of our overall business realignment and cost-savings efforts. We wanted to share that notifications will continue in many areas of the company over the next several days. In addition, restructuring in various businesses will continue for the next couple of months, and we do anticipate there will be further impacts before the summer, as previously shared. Each team is in a different place in this process, and your leaders will be sharing more context for your group soon.
These are hard decisions and not ones we take lightly – but every decision has been made with considerable thought, and we are doing everything we can to make sure this process is conducted with respect and compassion. The senior leadership teams have been working diligently to define our future organization, and our biggest priority has been getting this right, rather than getting it done fast. We recognize that it has been a period of uncertainty and thank you all for your understanding and patience.
This is a time of transition for Disney, and these changes affect everyone, whether or not your role is impacted. We are committed to supporting you through this period and encourage you to reach out to your leader or HR partner with any questions or for guidance, as needed.
While we are confident that these efforts will better position us for the future, we realize this all takes a toll. We want to acknowledge the impact of this moment and simply reiterate our appreciation for all of you and the passion and dedication you’ve brought to the work we do every day. And for those who will be leaving the company, please know that your contributions are valued and appreciated – you have all played a meaningful role in making Disney what it is today.
Alan & Dana
Read Pitaro’s memo:
As Bob Iger previously said, Disney is reducing its workforce by approximately 7,000 jobs as part of a strategic and streamlined realignment. Today I am sharing the difficult news that we are beginning to notify ESPN employees whose positions are impacted.
As we advance as a core segment of Disney, with operational control and financial responsibility, we must further identify ways to be efficient and nimble. We will continue to focus our workforce on initiatives that are most closely aligned with our critical priorities and emphasize decision-making and responsibility deeper into the organization. That said, I do not want to minimize the enormous toll of saying goodbye to dedicated colleagues that have worked tirelessly to strengthen ESPN and deliver for sports fans. The people of ESPN, and their constant resolve to get the job done, to excel and to innovate, have built this place. We will act with compassion, respect for our colleagues, and professionalism as we face these hard circumstances.
Employees in this wave will hear from their leader and HR partner this week. We will have another wave of notifications that will be completed by the start of the summer for those that are not in front-facing talent roles.
To those that will be leaving ESPN, I want to thank you for your many contributions and reinforce that the company is here to support you during this challenging transition. Please reach out to your HR Partner if you have any questions.
While these decisions were made with considerable thought, I also want to recognize that we understand that this has been a long – but thorough – process with a lot of uncertainty. This type of action impacts everyone. Thank you for your continued patience.
ESPN has been built on camaraderie, resilience, and a collective passion to serve sports fans. Those values are crucial during tough times. Please continue to be supportive of each other.
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