In November, Disney’s Board of Directors sent shockwaves through the Disney and entertainment communities when they announced that CEO Bob Chapek had been fired. Even more shocking, former Disney CEO Bob Iger would be coming back to take his place. Just about three months later, Disney hosted its quarterly earnings call — the first one since Iger took over the Mouse House once again. During that call, Iger announced that Disney was looking to cut $5.5 billion from its budget. Some of that would come in the form of mass layoffs.
Iger said that, in total, 7,000 positions at Disney would be eliminated. As time went on, we learned that about 4,000 Cast Members would lose their jobs, and 3,000 open positions would not be filled. Iger never said when the layoffs would begin, but last week, it was reported that the layoffs are expected to happen before Disney’s April 3 Shareholders meeting.
On March 27, Mr. Iger sent out a company-wide email. In the email, he told Cast Members that layoffs would begin this week. This round of layoffs will be the first round. A larger round of layoffs will be coming next month, but he didn’t say when. There will then be a third and final round of layoffs in the summer, but again, we do not know when in the summer that will happen.
Below is Iger’s entire memo he sent out, which was shared by The Hollywood Reporter.
Dear Fellow Employees,
As I shared with you in February, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our overall workforce by approximately 7,000 jobs as part of a strategic realignment of the company, including important cost-saving measures necessary for creating a more effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to our business. Over the past few months, senior leaders have been working closely with HR to assess their operational needs, and I want to give you an update on those efforts.
This week, we begin notifying employees whose positions are impacted by the company’s workforce reductions. Leaders will be communicating the news directly to the first group of impacted employees over the next four days. A second, larger round of notifications will happen in April with several thousand more staff reductions, and we expect to commence the final round of notifications before the beginning of the summer to reach our 7,000-job target.
The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly. This company is home to the most talented and dedicated employees in the world, and so many of you bring a lifelong passion for Disney to your work here. That’s part of what makes working at Disney so special. It also makes it all the more difficult to say goodbye to wonderful people we care about. I want to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to every departing employee for your numerous contributions and your devotion to this beloved company.
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.
In tough moments, we must always do what is required to ensure Disney can continue delivering exceptional entertainment to audiences and guests around the world – now, and long into the future. Please know that our HR partners and leaders are committed to creating a supportive and smooth process every step of the way.
I want to thank each of you again for all your many achievements here at The Walt Disney Company.
It should be noted that, even though Disney is laying off thousands of employees, the effects will most likely not be felt on the theme park level. Many Guests are commenting that the Parks seem understaffed, so Cast Members who work at the Parks will remain safe. In fact, Disney is still looking to hire more Cast Members to work at its incredible theme parks.