Disney Begins Eliminating 3% of Workforce

Massive layoffs are extending well beyond the tech industry. After Disney CEO Bob Iger announced on Monday that huge layoffs at the company would start this week, the cuts have now begun.

This aligns with a prior announcement in February that the organization would eliminate 7,000 positions, representing approximately 3% of its global staff. The company is also continuing a months-long targeted hiring freeze.

In an internal memo, Iger explained that the layoffs would happen in three waves, the first happening right now. The second wave is expected in April, while a third will take place “before the beginning of the summer” as part of the corporation’s aim to cut upwards of $5.5 billion in costs.

“The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly,” Iger wrote. “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.”

As part of the cuts, the company will undergo major restructuring that is expected to impact numerous parts of the business, from theme parks to TV networks.

Article Continues Below

“For our employees who aren’t impacted, I want to acknowledge that there will no doubt be challenges ahead as we continue to build the structures and functions that will enable us to be successful moving forward,” Iger also said in his memo. “I ask for your continued understanding and collaboration during this time.”

Following Iger’s announcement on Monday, Disney’s stock rose 1.6%. (Notably, shares had fallen 38% by November of last year, when plans for coming layoffs were first announced.)

Vadim Liberman is editor of ERE.net and a workplace renegade advancing how we think, work, and live. He has previously worked as a strategy consultant to HR and recruiting tech companies at The Starr Conspiracy, as a talent management professional at Prudential, and as senior editor of The Conference Board Review, a magazine for business leaders. Vadim loves to talk about all things HR, talent acquisition, and Bravo TV shows.