Disney Begins Second Wave of Layoffs, Aiming For 4,000 by Thursday

Lisa Stump

Bob Iger

Disney Begins Second Wave of Layoffs, Aiming For 4,000 by Thursday

Disney is initiating the second and largest wave of previously planned layoffs today and expects to reach 4,000 of its projected 7,000 staff cuts by Thursday of this week.

A second round of layoffs will begin this week at The Walt Disney Company.

Second Wave of Layoffs at Disney

The Walt Disney Company plans to release roughly 4,000 of the 7,000 planned layoffs for this second round by this Thursday. The layoffs are not set to affect regular theme park employees. Approximately 28,000 Cast Members were already laid off during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 executives is reportedly just the start.

The first round of layoffs began in late March. Senior Vice President of Production for Hulu, Mark Levenstein, and Senior VP of Production Management & Operations For Freeform, Jayne Bieber, were among the first executives to be let go. Also laid off was VP of Corporate Communications for The Walt Disney Company, Jeffrey R. Epstein, and Marvel Entertainment Chairman, Ike PerlumutterDisney’s “Metaverse” team was also terminated.

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 waited until after the April 3 shareholders meeting.

A staff memo from Disney Entertainment Co-Chairmen Alan Bergman and Dana Walden informed employees that affected workers would be notified from Monday through Thursday.

An additional, final round will take effect before the start of summer 2023. 

Here is the full memo from Bergman and Walden:

Team,

As you all know, a few weeks ago the company began notifying employees whose roles are impacted as part of our overall business realignment and cost-savings efforts. We wanted to share that notifications will continue in many areas of the company over the next several days. In addition, restructuring in various businesses will continue for the next couple of months, and we do anticipate there will be further impacts before the summer, as previously shared. Each team is in a different place in this process, and your leaders will be sharing more context for your group soon.

These are hard decisions and not ones we take lightly – but every decision has been made with considerable thought, and we are doing everything we can to make sure this process is conducted with respect and compassion. The senior leadership teams have been working diligently to define our future organization, and our biggest priority has been getting this right, rather than getting it done fast. We recognize that it has been a period of uncertainty and thank you all for your understanding and patience.

This is a time of transition for Disney, and these changes affect everyone, whether or not your role is impacted. We are committed to supporting you through this period and encourage you to reach out to your leader or HR partner with any questions or for guidance, as needed. 

While we are confident that these efforts will better position us for the future, we realize this all takes a toll. We want to acknowledge the impact of this moment and simply reiterate our appreciation for all of you and the passion and dedication you’ve brought to the work we do every day. And for those who will be leaving the company, please know that your contributions are valued and appreciated – you have all played a meaningful role in making Disney what it is today.

With gratitude,

Alan & Dana

What do you think of this newest round of layoffs? We’d like to see your opinions in the comments below.

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Author

  • Lisa Stump

    Lisa loves theme parks, black coffee, and her two Sphynx cats, Jareth and Figment. She believes the best day includes a trip around World Showcase during the EPCOT International Food & Wine festival! Her favorite attractions are Rise of the Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and "it's a small world." She can be reached at lisa.stump@wdwnt.com.