Disney CEO Bob Iger Confirms Layoffs Start This Week at Hulu, Disney+, & More




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Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that the first three rounds of layoffs will start this week as the massive United States film studio looks to reduce its workforce by nearly 7,000 workers. 

The CEO’s memo to employees tracks closely to what Deadline reported last week: there will be three rounds of cutbacks, the second confirmed to be the largest. This week’s round, being the first, comes a few days before Disney’s annual shareholder meeting held on April 3rd. Iger announced plans for downsizing back in February, saying it is the key to reaching $5.5 billion in cost savings. Managers at Disney have been working to finalize details of the new structure during these following weeks. 

Iger included in the memo to all employees, “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.” 

After stepping down in 2020, Bob Iger returned to his position last November to continue his 14-year run as CEO. In an attempt to steer Disney in the right direction, he has already dismantled the centralized distribution structure implemented by Bob Chapek, former Disney CEO, and he instead set up three separate corporate divisions. Parks, Experiences and Products, Entertainment and ESPN; the three divisions that he created will be subject to the imminent layoffs. The Entertainment division will see the majority of cuts on the business and content sides not only at Hulu, but at sister studios ABC Signature and 20th Television, Deadline states. 

This restructuring of the company comes as they evaluate their strategic options. Iger has assured consumers that ESPN will most likely stay in the corporate fold, though it has the potential to offer a stand-alone streaming version of itself in the near future. 

Iger has also hinted that all scenarios could be on the table for Hulu, which is operated by Disney but not completely owned. Comcast has a 33% financial stake in Hulu, which Disney is expected to buy out in early 2024, or they can choose to completely withdraw from the streaming platform altogether. These rumors sprung up as Iger’s commentary about general-entertainment streaming has taken a negative turn, and exits from streaming platforms seem likely. 

Included in his memo, Iger laments: “The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly. This company is home to the most talented and dedicated employees in the world, and so many of you bring a lifelong passion for Disney to your work here. That’s part of what makes working at Disney so special. It also makes it all the more difficult to say goodbye to wonderful people we care about. I want to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to every departing employee for your numerous contributions and your devotion to this beloved company.” 

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