Report: Disney Is Expected to Start Layoffs In April With 4,000 Employees

"I do not make this decision lightly," said Disney CEO Bob Iger.

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By Jonathan Small Originally published

(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney)
Disney CEO Bob Iger

Key Takeaways

  • Disney's top human resources executive Paul Richardson exited the company this week. He had been with Disney's ESPN for 15 years.
  • A “source close to Disney” told the outlet that managers have until April to choose which candidates to let go.

Update: Business Insider reports that the planned Disney layoffs will start with around 4,000 current employees. The rest of the cuts (about 3,000 more) will come from open positions. Layoffs could begin as soon as next month.

The cuts are expected to come from several departments, including parks. The report said managers are assessing which employees are on the chopping block and have a "few weeks" to turn in their lists.

Original story below:

The mouse is about to clean house.

That was the message heard loud and clear at Disney CEO Bob Iger's first earnings report since he came out of retirement to head up the global entertainment company.

In a bombshell call with analysts, Iger announced a sweeping corporate restructuring that will result in nearly 7,000 layoffs to save $5.5 billion in costs. The job cuts make up roughly 3.6% of Disney's global workforce.

"While this is necessary to address the challenges we're facing today, I do not make this decision lightly," said Iger. "I have enormous respect and appreciation for the talent and dedication of our employees worldwide, and I'm mindful of the personal impact of these changes."

Related: Bob Iger Returns as Disney CEO and Bob Chapek Steps Down, Effective Immediately

A course correction comes at a cost

The House of Mouse is the latest U.S. company to initiate major job cuts, following in the footsteps of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Zoom.

Iger said Disney wants to reanimate its film and TV business while cutting costs in "non-content" operations, such as marketing, labor, and technology.

"We must return creativity to the center of the company, increase accountability, improve results and ensure the quality of our content and experiences," Iger said.

Iger said that the company would reorganize into three segments: an entertainment unit encompassing film, TV, and streaming, a sports-focused ESPN unit, and Disney parks, experiences, and products.

He emphasized that the company's streaming services, which include Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, will remain its " #1 priority". But he added that "we're not going to abandon the linear or the traditional platforms while they can still be a benefit to us and our shareholders."

Wall Street reacts

While Disney employees can't be happy about the news, Wall Street liked what they heard, as Disney shares surged 6% in after-market trading. After tanking in 2022, stock prices have increased 26 percent this year.

Iger shared quarterly P&L numbers that were better than many analysts expected.

Disney's streaming subscribers were down only 1%, from 164 million to 162 million. But ESPN+ and Hulu subscriber numbers were up 2%. Disney's theme parks brought in $2.1 billion in profit, up 36 percent from last year.

The reorg marks a new chapter for Iger, who first became Disney CEO in 2005 and retired in 2020, only to return in 2022.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur

Jonathan Small is editor-in-chief of Green Entrepreneur, a vertical from Entrepreneur Media focused on the intersection of sustainability and business. He is also an award-winning journalist, producer, and podcast host of the upcoming True Crime series, Dirty Money, and Write About Now podcasts. Jonathan is the founder of Strike Fire Productions, a premium podcast production company. He had held editing positions at Glamour, Stuff, Fitness, and Twist Magazines. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, and Good Housekeeping. Previously, Jonathan served as VP of Content for the GSN (the Game Show Network), where he produced original digital video series.

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