According to a recent report by Deadline, the Walt Disney Company is set to begin a series of company-wide layoffs next week ahead of their April 3 virtual shareholders meeting.
Just last week, executives at The Walt Disney Company were asked by CEO Bob Iger to identify thousands of potential layoff candidates in an effort to cut nearly $5.5 billion in costs. Iger is reportedly on “a push for profitability” as his return to the company continues and Deadline’s sources claim those efforts will be acted upon as early as March 30.
Deadline reports that those with insider knowledge of the proposed layoffs have revealed that multiple rounds of cuts are being prepared. The first one is being targeted for next week with March 30 or March 31 being discussed as potential dates. The majority of job cuts are expected to happen after the April 3 virtual meeting with shareholders.
A second and larger wave of layoffs is said to be coming in April and a third has been rumored to follow what insiders are calling the April “bloodbath.” Layoffs will impact about 4,000 existing employees and departments are expected to freeze the search for many unfilled positions, as well.
Deadline has reported that “Senior Disney executives have been hashing out specifics of the reductions in recent weeks. We hear that most managers already have submitted their layoff target reports, the step corporations take before a major workforce culling.”
The layoffs are the latest in a series of cost-cutting initiatives and restructuring efforts that have gone into effect since the return of CEO Bob Iger. Iger announced his plans to collapse the centralized content and distribution unit Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, championed by former CEO Bob Chapek, on his first day back at Disney in November. He also confirmed a hiring freeze announced under Chapek would still go forward.
He then announced plans to eliminate 7,000 jobs during the February earnings call. CFO Christine McCarthy told investors on the same earnings call that the company has targeted cost savings of $5.5 billion. Some of that will come from trimming money spent on TV and movies, and the rest will come from marketing and other non-content budgets.
Back in February, Iger also announced the restructuring of Disney into three wings — Entertainment, ESPN, and Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products. Alan Bergman and Dana Walden co-chair Entertainment, Jimmy Pitaro heads ESPN, and Josh D’Amaro continues to watch over DPEP.
Following his promise to investors during a February earnings call, Iger is determined to make a “statement” in the coming weeks, Deadline reports. The Walt Disney Company will hold its annual shareholders meeting virtually on Monday, April 3.
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