The Walt Disney Company is reaping the harvest sown through the last decade of decisions and policies for good and ill in an announcement from CEO Bob Iger that heralded the first of three rounds of layoffs set to reduce the company’s headcount by approximately 7,000 jobs.
According to CNBC, citing an internal memo from Iger, the savage reduction in force is only a portion of increasingly severe measures to reduce spending and free up capital. In February, the company announced an ambitious plan to cut $5.5 billion from its operating budget.
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The Hollywood Reporter noted that the layoffs are set to hit the Television production and Acquisitions departments. Notable high-ranking staffers that have been shown the door include “Jayne Bieber, senior vp production at Freeform/Onyx Collective; Mark Levenstein, head of production and postproduction at Hulu; and Elizabeth Newman, head of Disney’s acquisitions department.”
Disney Layoffs Hit TV Production, Acquisitions Departmentshttps://t.co/kYs01CgarC
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 27, 2023
In the memo, Iger wrote:
“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.”
Disney $DIS CEO Bob Iger sent this email to Disney employees today letting them know the company has begun its round of 7000 layoffs announced in February pic.twitter.com/ZqV7Z3iqXA
— StockMKTNewz – Evan (@StockMKTNewz) March 27, 2023
The Disney CEO continued, making it clear that the decision was one of survival and that the danger to the entertainment giant is existential. “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.”
The move comes mere months after Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) announced the special governing arrangement that Disney held over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a quasi-governmental entity that made Walt Disney World essentially self-governing was over. DeSantis appointed members to the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a replacement entity effectively under his office’s control.
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