Bob Greenblatt, the newly announced chairman of WarnerMedia’s entertainment and direct-to-consumer operations, says not to expect many layoffs as the company reorganization proceeds.
Predictions of medium-to-large scale layoffs overestimate the changes to come, Greenblatt said. He suggested that the number of people who find themselves out of work under the new regime could number as low as single digits.
“I don’t think you’re going to see anything like what has been predicted. It’s really just kind of the knee-jerk reaction that you expect, but you’re not going to see any headlines about hundreds or God-forbid thousands of people being laid off,” Greenblatt said in an interview with TheWrap on Monday. “We’re talking about one, two, three, four — maybe, tens of people. It’s not going to be the shake-out that’s been predicted.”
The new position for Greenblatt was formally revealed on Monday, just days after the departures of HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler and Turner president David Levy. As entertainment chairman, Greenblatt will fill both roles, in addition to overseeing WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service.
Greenblatt said thus far, his conversations with WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey have not focused on specific cost-cutting targets, but rather measures to reduce redundancy and inefficiency.
“I don’t think there’s a desire to just dump costs and people out of this business,” Greenblatt said. “We’re not doing a merger like Disney and Fox where there are literally thousands of people coming into a universe where there are already thousands of people doing the same jobs. We’re trying to put some networks together.”
Many were predicting layoffs to come from WarnerMedia’s apparent moves to streamline its cable network operations, but in his first official day on the job, Greenblatt is downplaying the idea.
“There’s no target,” Greenblatt said. “It’s really the surgical work of looking at the organization and how could we make it a little more efficient and smartly run. And emphasis on little.”
However, Greenblatt did issue one caveat. “Now, once we’re a year into the business or longer, there may be more things we decide to do,” he said. “But that’s the normal course of business.”