As the Walt Disney Company prepares for a first wave of layoffs this week, details have emerged regarding who will be the first executives to be let go from the company. The first layoffs appear to be a casualty of consolidation efforts within production operations across Disney TV Studios, Hulu, Freeform, and FX under the leadership of Carol Turner.
According to new reports from Deadline, Senior Vice President of Production for Hulu, Mark Levenstein, and Jayne Bieber, senior vice president of Production Management & Operations for Freeform, are the first executives to be let go this week. Carol Turner is expected to absorb their roles as part of a consolidation effort for scripted television across Disney Entertainment.
Earlier today, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that layoffs will begin this week within the company. Three rounds of cuts are expected to happen before summer of 2023. The Walt Disney Company looks to reduce its workforce by roughly 7,000 employees.
Just last week, executives at The Walt Disney Company were asked by 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 the letting go of these to executives is reportedly just the start.
The company’s restructuring comes after previous CEO Bob Chapek was fired last November. Though many changes have already been made within the company after his exit, the stock price continues to be an issue. The majority of job cuts are expected to happen after the April 3 virtual meeting with shareholders.
One other major change Iger implemented post-Chapek was abandoning a centralized distribution structure for content. Iger divided that corporate mass into three separate entities; however, now employees from all three of these new divisions: Parks, Experiences and Products; Entertainment; and ESPN are theorized to be included in the layoffs. That theory was confirmed by the news of Levenstein and Bieber.
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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