Disney Endgame as CEO Bob Iger confirms layoffs, 7,000 to lose jobs

Shaurya Thapa
Shaurya ThapaMar 29, 2023 | 13:01

Disney Endgame as CEO Bob Iger confirms layoffs, 7,000 to lose jobs

7,000 Disney employees will be losing their jobs this summer, according to CEO Bob Iger's new memo. (photo-DailyO)

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.

Bob Iger posing with Disney World employees (photo-@RobertIger/Twitter)
Bob Iger posing with Disney World employees (photo-@RobertIger/Twitter)

What does Iger say?

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 

“important cost-saving measures necessary for creating a more effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to our business.”

Who is getting fired?

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). 

What is Disney’s endgame here?

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. 

Bob Iger standing with Mickey Mouse (photo-GETTY)
Bob Iger standing with Mickey Mouse (photo-GETTY)

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. 

When do the firings start?

“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. 

But are the “un-impacted” employees safe?

While Iger’s memo included a passage of condolences for the fired employees, Iger also spared a paragraph for the others. 

“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.”

What did Iger do with Disney?

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:

  • Parks Experience and Products;
  • Entertainment; and
  • ESPN. 
Bob Chapek (L) and Bob Iger (R) (photo-Getty Images)
Bob Chapek (L) and Bob Iger (R) (photo-Getty Images)

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.

Last updated: March 29, 2023 | 13:01
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