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Disney to Begin Layoffs of 7,000 Staffers This Week: Bob Iger Cites Need for ‘Streamlined Approach to Our Business’

Disney will begin layoff notices this week for more than 7,000 staffers whose positions will be eliminated as part of a deep cost-cutting effort that will be felt across all of the company’s key divisions.

Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed Monday morning in a memo to employees that the layoffs will come in three waves, starting today. Iger disclosed the plan to significantly cut Disney’s overhead with massive staff reductions on Feb. 8. The cuts are expected to hit across the board and hit senior management levels as well as lower-level executives.

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“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,” Iger wrote. “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.”

After this week’s notifications, Iger told employees that another “larger” round of notifications will come next month and a final round will hit “before the beginning of summer” to get the company to the 7,000 target. Iger detailed the challenges facing the company at length during the company’s most recently quarterly earnings call on Feb. 8.

The mass layoffs reflect the depth of the transformation that Disney and other media companies face amid the difficult transition from analog TV and traditional movies into the on-demand streaming era.

One area of Disney employment that is expected to be mostly spared is employees who interact with guests at the company's theme parks. After the pandemic shutdowns, the resiliency of demand for Disney's global theme parks has been a vital ballast for the company in turbulent times for Hollywood.

As of October, Disney's total employee base stood at about 220,000, with 166,000 of those jobs being in the U.S. About 78% of Disney's workforce is full time, according to the company's 2022 annual report.

Here is Iger's full message to employees:

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.

Sincerely,

Bob

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