Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger confirmed Wednesday that 7,000 employees would be let go as part of an initiative for the company to save billions of dollars.
The House of Mouse indicated it would restructure into three major sections: an entertainment unit made up of films, television, and streaming, sports via ESPN, as well as Disney parks, experiences, and products.
Cutting 7000 jobs or 3% staff
Activist Investor #NelsonPeltz ends Proxy fight on restructure
— Susan Li (@SusanLiTV) February 9, 2023
“We will be reducing our workforce by approximately 7,000 jobs,” Iger said when speaking on the layoffs during a conference call on Wednesday.
“While this is necessary to address the challenges we’re facing today, I do not make this decision lightly. 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.”
Iger said the company would be cutting $2.5 billion in operating costs, and that another $3 billion would be saved from both the firings and by reducing content that is unrelated to sports.
“There’s a lot to accomplish but let me be clear, this is my No. 1 priority,” Iger said, emphasizing his commitment to bring shareholders value.
A filing by the SEC revealed that the 7,000 jobs eliminated by Disney make up around 3% of the roughly 220,000 working for the company as of Oct. 1. Around 166,000 of those employees are based in the U.S., with about 54,000 located elsewhere.
Iger, who replaced his recently-fired and hand-picked successor Bob Chapek, assured investors that Disney will be taking “a very hard look at the cost of everything we make across television and film.”
The CEO maintained that the company remains inspired to be creative.
“Our company is fueled by storytelling and creativity, and virtually every dollar we earn, every transaction, every interaction with our consumers, emanates from something creative,” he said Wednesday. “I have always believed that the best way to spur great creativity is to make sure the people who are managing the creative processes feel empowered.”
Iger’s announcement commences Disney’s third reorganization in five years, previously restructuring in 2018 and 2020, the New York Post reports.