Ever since Bob Iger returned as the CEO of Disney in November 2022, cancelled projects and the fear of mass layoffs have dominated the new leadership. In the much-anticipated build-up to Disney’s mass firings, Iger has now offered a new memo addressed to his employees.
Iger, in his memo, stated that “the strategic realignment of the company” will involve the loss of over 7,000 jobs (as he had announced in February 2023). He added that he and his board have made the layoffs come as
According to insider sources, all three divisions of the company (Parks Experiences and Products; Entertainment; ESPN) will be affected. As for the Entertainment branch, not only would Disney employees be fired but even those who work for Hulu (a property that Disney operates but does not fully own).
Much like streaming giant Netflix, Disney is facing an unpredictable streaming landscape that is affecting its luck on Wall Street. Disney shares have already lost half their value since Summer 2021. Iger’s return as CEO could bring a slight increase but the Disney stocks are wavering too much as of late.
Iger announced the massive firing programme first in February 2023 where he mentioned that he hopes this move will help achieve $5.5 billion in cost savings. The latest memo comes just ahead of the company’s annual shareholders meeting on April 3.
“This week, we begin notifying employees whose positions are impacted by the company’s workforce reductions,” Iger writes in his memo, announcing the first phase of the firings. Team leaders are expected to communicate the news to the first group of “impacted employees” within the next four days (up to April 1, 2023).
The second phase is expected to start in April with thousands of more staff reductions.
Disney is expected to reach its target of 7,000 layoffs in a third phase before the beginning of the summer.
While Iger’s memo included a passage of condolences for the fired employees, Iger also spared a paragraph for the others.
After stepping down from the Disney job in 2020, Iger replaced Bob Chapek as the company CEO in 2023. He started his ongoing term with dismantling the company’s centralised distribution structure by his predecessor Chapek.
Instead, Iger divided the company into three major divisions:
Iger has maintained that the sports network ESPN getting its own standalone streaming option is a possibility but not a high priority asset for the company. Meanwhile, in Entertainment, Iger’s board is coming up with several solutions to increase Hulu’s capacity as a profit-making machine.