Disney to Lay Off 7,000 Employees in Cost-Cutting Effort: Memo

Disney is set to lay off roughly 7,000 employees across three rounds before the summer starts, as part of a broader effort to reduce corporate spending and boost free cash flow, according to a memo from CEO Bob Iger obtained by CNBC.

The layoffs, initially announced in February, will impact various divisions within Disney, including media and distribution, parks and resorts, and ESPN.

In the memo, Iger states, “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.”

Disney, like other legacy media companies such as Warner Bros. and Discovery, is focusing on cutting jobs and spending.

It’s not just Disney and media companies slashing jobs. Tech giants such as Meta, Amazon, Alphabet and more are also shedding jobs to cut spending, in a time of economic uncertainty. Apple hasn’t cut jobs but has limited hiring and paying out of bonuses.

Disney’s streaming business, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, is expected to stop losing money by 2024. Disney shares have risen about 8% this year after a 44% drop last year.

In the memo, Iger also acknowledges the challenges ahead, stating, “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.”

Since his return as CEO, Iger has reorganized the company and hinted at the possibility of selling Hulu. Disney is set to host its annual shareholder meeting on April 3rd. It’s unclear if these job cuts will be affecting any media positions in Canada.

Click here to see what’s coming to Disney+ Canada in April 2023.