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DISNEY PANICS! MASSIVE CUTBACKS ANNONUCED! Hiring Freeze, LAYOFFS and “Cost Structure Taskforce”!

by 11.12.2022

Disney Plans Targeted Hiring Freeze, Staff Reductions and “Cost Structure Taskforce” CEO Bob Chapek also said the company is undertaking a “rigorous review of the company’s content and marketing spending.”

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DISNEY PANICS! MASSIVE CUTBACKS ANNONUCED! Hiring Freeze, Layoffs and “Cost Structure Taskforce”!

Disney Plans Targeted Hiring Freeze, Staff Reductions and “Cost Structure Taskforce”
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/disney-hiring-freeze-staff-reductions-cost-1235260531

The Walt Disney Co. is looking to cut costs.

In a memo to senior executives Friday afternoon obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Disney CEO Bob Chapek outlined new efforts to save on expenses, including a targeted hiring freeze, likely staff reductions, a “cost structure taskforce” and a “rigorous review of the company’s content and marketing spending.”

Chapek’s memo comes as Disney, like all major media, entertainment and technology players, look to slim down or otherwise save cash amid a difficult macroeconomic environment, with advertising hit particularly hard.

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On the company’s fiscal Q4 earnings call earlier this week, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy told analysts that “we are actively evaluating our cost base currently, and we are looking for meaningful efficiencies” when asked about cost-cutting efforts. Chapek’s memo builds off of that with more specificity.

For starters, Chapek, McCarthy and general counsel Horacio Gutierrez will make up the company’s cost structure taskforce, which “will make the critical big picture decisions necessary to achieve our objectives,” per Chapek.

“The taskforce will drive this work in partnership with segment teams to achieve both savings and organizational enhancements,” he added. “As we work through this evaluation process, we will look at every avenue of operations and labor to find savings, and we do anticipate some staff reductions as part of this review.”

In the meantime, Disney is implementing a targeted hiring freeze, with only business critical roles being filled, and business travel is being restricted to “essential” travel only.

“I am fully aware this will be a difficult process for many of you and your teams,” Chapek wrote. “We are going to have to make tough and uncomfortable decisions. But that is just what leadership requires, and I thank you in advance for stepping up during this important time.”

On the content side, Chapek signaled that the company is going to be more selective about where it invests its cash.

“While we will not sacrifice quality or the strength of our unrivaled synergy machine, we must ensure our investments are both efficient and come with tangible benefits to both audiences and the company,” he wrote.

The memo from Chapek comes amid a tumultuous time for media, with every major player in the space looking to cut costs. NBCUniversal has offered early retirement packages to long-serving employees, while Warner Bros. Discovery has been undergoing cuts in its various divisions ever since Discovery merged with WarnerMedia in the spring.

Executives at Paramount have also signaled that cost-cutting efforts are coming, with some anticipated to happen before the end of the year.

Chapek’s full memo is below.

Disney Leaders-

As we begin fiscal 2023, I want to communicate with you directly about the cost management efforts Christine McCarthy and I referenced on this week’s earnings call. These efforts will help us to both achieve the important goal of reaching profitability for Disney+ in fiscal 2024 and make us a more efficient and nimble company overall. This work is occurring against a backdrop of economic uncertainty that all companies and our industry are contending with.

While certain macroeconomic factors are out of our control, meeting these goals requires all of us to continue doing our part to manage the things we can control—most notably, our costs. You all will have critical roles to play in this effort, and as senior leaders, I know you will get it done.

To be clear, I am confident in our ability to reach the targets we have set, and in this management team to get us there.

Thank you again for your leadership.

-Bob

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