DC Publishing Laying Off 3 Percent of Its Workforce

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Courtesy of Ivan Reis/DC Entertainment
Seven of the company's 240 employees are believed to be affected.

DC is laying off staff as part of an organization restructure of the Warner Bros. division that will see it focus on its original core business of publishing, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. It is believed that seven employees, around three percent of DC's 240-person workforce, have been impacted.

Layoffs at DC, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., include high-level figures including senior vp sales trade marketing John Cunningham, vp consumer marketing Eddie Scannell and senior vp art director Mark Chiarello among those who have left the company, according to sources familiar with the matter. 

Rumors about changes at the company, home to the DC, Vertigo and MAD brands, have been circulating since Wednesday afternoon, helped by early, unsubstantiated reports that speculated that DC publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee could be among those leaving the company; that is not the case, with both actively continuing in their current positions.

The company has been organized into three distinct areas as of Wednesday's news: Editorial, which will continue to be overseen by editor-in-chief Bob Harras; Production & Manufacturing, which remains under the purview of senior vp manufacturing and operations Alison Gill; and the newly created Publishing Support Services, which will handle sales, marketing and promotion for DC product and be handled by longtime DC veteran Hank Kanalz as senior vp publishing strategy & support services. 

DC Collectibles, the merchandising arm of the company, will be moved under Warner Bros. Consumer Products' Toy team. 

This move comes on the same day as a reorganization of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, in which 10 percent of staff will be laid off, sources say. Pam Lifford heads both divisions under her role as president, Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences. 

DC moved its publishing operations from New York to Burbank in 2015. The past year has included big behind-the-scenes moves, including Diane Nelson stepping down in June as president of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products after 22 years with the company. A week later, Geoff Johns exited as DC president and chief creative officer for a writing a producing deal at DC and Warner Bros. In September, DC launched its streaming service, DC Universe, which features original series, comics and film content from the Warner Bros. library. 

A DC representative declined to comment.

The news was announced to DC employees via memo Wednesday afternoon. The memo, written by Lifford, is below.

Today has been a challenging day. We have made organizational changes across DC that we believe will help to strengthen and evolve the division for future success. With these changes come difficult decisions which we take very seriously.

We recognize and appreciate that all of our employees have made considerable contributions to our business and that it is difficult to lose colleagues, many of whom have been here for a long time and have made an important impact on DC. We thank them for their hard work and dedication to DC. As always, we are committed to taking care of our employees and will be as thoughtful as possible with those who are impacted by these changes.

Together with Dan and Jim, and the executive team, we have spent time assessing DC’s business, as well as the comic book publishing landscape. DC is going back to its roots of delivering epic stories with our world-class characters, stories and brands. Being a premier house of storytelling will never go out of style and we intend to ultimately super-serve our existing fans, while providing new compelling content that engages and excites even more fans around the globe. Rest assured, the direct market will remain at the heart of our business – and will continue to be one of our greatest strengths.

The new streamlined structure is focused on creating, delivering and supporting a robust publishing operation that will allow DC to be nimble, navigate an industry in change, and thrive. As we communicated today, we are forming three distinct work streams – Editorial, Production & Manufacturing and Publishing Support Services.

•  Editorial will continue to be run by Bob Harras, SVP & Editor-In-Chief, who will now also be responsible for new initiatives and global publishing, editorial scheduling, and art direction

•  Production & Manufacturing will continue to be run by Alison Gill, SVP Manufacturing & Operations

•  Publishing Support Services is a new business unit consisting of all departments that support the sales, marketing and promotion of our books, and this will be run by Hank Kanalz who is taking on additional responsibilities as SVP Publishing Strategy & Support Services As a result – DC Collectibles and its team will be part of the Consumer Products Toy team moving forward.

We recognize there are other groups across DC who are not fully dedicated to supporting the publishing business and, therefore, are not directly addressed in today’s news. As The Global Brands & Experiences structure continues to develop, I look forward to sharing more with you as that evolves.

Many of you will have questions and in the coming days you will receive more information from Bob, Alison and Hank about their teams. Together with Dan and Jim, I will be hosting Town Hall meetings Thursday on the individual floors to discuss these changes and provide more insight. 

Thank you again for your support, hard work and loyalty to DC. Each of you are incredibly valued and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow afternoon where I will do my best to answer any questions.