Walt Disney begins lay off 7,000 workers

Oluwanifemi Ojo
Oluwanifemi Ojo
Disney's CEO, Bob Iger during CNBC interview Credit: CNBC

Alex Omenye

Entertainment company, Walt Disney has begun to lay off 7,000 employees on Monday.

According to the letter sent to employees by Chief Executive Bob Iger and obtained by Reuters, the layoff became necessary as the company seeks to control costs and create a more “streamlined” business.

According to a person familiar with the situation, several major divisions of the company – Disney Entertainment, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and corporate – will be impacted.

ESPN was not affected by this week’s round of cuts, but it is expected to be included in subsequent rounds.

Iger stated that Disney will begin notifying the first group of employees affected by the workforce reductions within the next four days.
A second, larger round of layoffs is scheduled for April, “with several thousand more staff reductions.”

The final round will begin before the end of the summer, according to the letter.

“The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly,” Iger wrote, noting that many “bring a lifelong passion for Disney” to their work.

The company had been tight-lipped about the layoffs, though insiders predicted they would take place before Disney’s annual shareholder meeting on April 3.

Anxiety has been building within Disney as rumours about potential budget cuts circulated.

“It’s a dark, black box,” a Disney executive told Reuters last week.

Many expected the Disney Media and Entertainment Division, eliminated as part of a corporate restructuring, to bear the brunt of the cuts.

Since Kareem Daniel’s departure in November, shortly after Iger’s return as CEO, the unit has been without a leader.

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