Turner Broadcasting began laying off employees on Wednesday as part of a large restructuring plan across the Time Warner company, two individuals with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. Insiders said the job cuts took place at the CNN Center in Atlanta and the Turner Broadcasting Techwood Campus, which is also located in Atlanta.
“Security guards escorted several people from the CNN Center and at least one person was crying,” an insider said.
Most of the affected employees were believed to be from the Sales Departments at CNN and HLN, as well as some workers from TNT.
As reported on Monday, Turner — which is the parent company of CNN and HLN — will lay off 1,475 employees over the next two weeks, a 10 percent reduction in staff. Approximately 900 employees from all of Turner in Atlanta will be let go, while CNN Worldwide will lose a total of 170.
Severance pay will be offered to the employees, who will come from 18 global locations. The job cuts will come from all levels across the company’s news, entertainment, kids, young adult and sports networks and business, as well as corporate functions, the company said in a Monday press release.
The job cuts followed voluntary buyouts that were offered to 550 employees division-wide in August. As TheWrap previously reported, if not enough staffers accepted the voluntary buyouts, layoffs were to follow.
This latest round of job cuts followed Turner Broadcasting System CEO John Martin’s internal memo on Aug. 19 that corporate restructuring was coming in the next two months.
The memo said Turner would “start 2015 a more streamlined, nimble and efficient company focused on driving programming, monetization and innovation, in a culture that emphasizes and rewards continuous improvement.”
The memo described an assessment of the “purpose, structure and fit of literally every department in the company.” While layoffs were not mentioned anywhere in the memo, industry insiders said at the time that they were implied, and would likely include all divisions of the company — CNN, HLN, TNT, TBS, TruTV and Cartoon Network.
Martin first announced his so-called “Turner 2020” plan in June, which was designed to maximize performance and trim fat by assessing each part of the company and making changes to reduce spending and increase profitability. Along with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, the company announced it was budgeting $4 billion for original programming. As a result of this shifting of resources, Martin indicated then that it could mean staff changes, adding, “I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t.