The Walt Disney Company will begin the second round of its anticipated 7,000 layoffs Monday, bringing the total to 4,000 cuts by the end of the week.
In a memo sent to staff Monday, Disney Entertainment co-chairs Dana Walden and Alan Bergman laid out the plan introduced in February by CEO Bob Iger, indicating that a third and final round of the layoffs is expected to bring them to that mark before the summer.
“These are hard decisions and not ones we take lightly — but every decision has been made with considerable thought,” Walden and Bergman said in the memo.
This second round of the layoffs, which first began March 27, will be the largest of the three and will bring the company over the halfway mark of its 7,000-cut goal.
The layoffs are expected to impact the company’s full-time workforce from Disney Entertainment, ESPN and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Additional details on what specific roles and departments will be impacted as the news rolls out through Thursday remain unclear.
March’s layoffs left their mark across departments, including Disney’s metaverse division (which was shuttered) and Marvel Entertainment (which was folded into Disney and lost CEO Ike Perlmutter, who contends he was fired), and impacted employees of high senior management levels along with lower-level executives.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure this process is conducted with respect and compassion,” the memo continued. “The senior leadership teams have been working diligently to define our future organization, and our biggest priority has been getting this right, rather than getting it done fast. We recognize that it has been a period of uncertainty and thank you all for your understanding and patience.”
Iger’s proposed layoffs — set with the goal of $5.5 billion in cost savings — come as Disney is one of the many media corporations facing financial difficulties. The costly move to compete with Netflix in the streaming market with Disney+ and the commitment to restoring Disney’s dividend by the end of 2023 have underlined the need to make cuts. Iger said in March that the cuts are “necessary for creating a more effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to our business,” adding that Disney expects to deliver $3 billion in savings over the next few years. The company also plans to cut another $2.5 billion in non-content spending, for a total of $5.5 billion.
The 7,000 positions expected to be dismissed by this summer account for a little over 3% of the company’s total workforce, which stood at 223,000 employees in October.
Read the full memo from Disney Entertainment’s Walden and Bergman below:
As you all know, a few weeks ago the company began notifying employees whose roles are impacted as part of our overall business realignment and cost-savings efforts. We wanted to share that notifications will continue in many areas of the company over the next several days. In addition, restructuring in various businesses will continue for the next couple of months, and we do anticipate there will be further impacts before the summer, as previously shared. Each team is in a different place in this process, and your leaders will be sharing more context for your group soon.
These are hard decisions and not ones we take lightly – but every decision has been made with considerable thought, and we are doing everything we can to make sure this process is conducted with respect and compassion. The senior leadership teams have been working diligently to define our future organization, and our biggest priority has been getting this right, rather than getting it done fast. We recognize that it has been a period of uncertainty and thank you all for your understanding and patience.
This is a time of transition for Disney, and these changes affect everyone, whether or not your role is impacted. We are committed to supporting you through this period and encourage you to reach out to your leader or HR partner with any questions or for guidance, as needed.
While we are confident that these efforts will better position us for the future, we realize this all takes a toll. We want to acknowledge the impact of this moment and simply reiterate our appreciation for all of you and the passion and dedication you’ve brought to the work we do every day. And for those who will be leaving the company, please know that your contributions are valued and appreciated – you have all played a meaningful role in making Disney what it is today.
Alan & Dana