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Disney lays off multiple high-ranking employees during first wave of job cuts

KTLA-TV Los Angeles 3/29/2023 Iman Palm
Disney lays off multiple high-ranking employees during first wave of job cuts © Provided by KTLA-TV Los Angeles Disney lays off multiple high-ranking employees during first wave of job cuts

The Walt Disney Co. has laid off multiple high-ranking employees during the first round of its planned job cuts, a move that will reduce the company’s workforce by 7,000 jobs or 3%.

So far, Disney has laid off:

  • Isaac Perlmutter, the former Marvel Entertainment chairman. The New York Times reported that Perlmutter’s departure comes after he unsuccessfully tried to help Nelson Peltz, an activist, investor and personal friend, join the Disney board. Perlmutter sold Marvel to Disney for $4 billion in 2009.
  • Rob Steffens, the former co-president of Marvel Entertainment, was also laid off, Variety reported.
  • John Turitzin, the former chief counsel to Marvel Entertainment
  • Jeffrey R. Epstein, the former vice president of corporate communications for Disney and spokesperson for Disney's official fan club, D23, was laid off, The Wrap reported,
  • Elizabeth Newman, the former vice president of Development and head of the Creative Acquisitions department at for Disney Television Studios.
  • Mark Levenstein, the former head of post-production at Hulu.
  • Jayne Bieber, the former senior vice president of production management and operations at Freeform
  • The entire Disney metaverse division, the Wall Street Journal reported.

On Monday, multiple media outlets reported that Disney CEO Bob Iger sent out a memo explaining that the company will begin notifying employees "whose positions are impacted by the company's workforce reductions."

Disney CEO Bob Iger confirms that company's planned job layoffs will begin this week

Disney is expected to do two more rounds of job cuts, with the largest one happening in April. The job cuts are expected to conclude by the beginning of summer.

Deadline reported that The April job cut wave has been described as the "big one" or a "bloodbath" because that's when a large number of people would be laid off.

Iger initially announced the news of the layoffs on Feb. 8. The loss of 7,000 jobs would represent a 3% reduction of the company workforce. The layoff news came as Disney enacted a company-wide plan to reduce costs by $5.5 billion.

All company divisions, including theme parks, are expected to be impacted by the planned labor reduction. The company's theme park division includes the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Disney cruise lines, and its international parks.

Disney workforce cuts to affect all company divisions, including theme parks

In addition to the planned job cuts, Disney has also instituted a hiring freeze, implemented under previous CEO Bob Chapek following a dismal earnings report.

When Iger returned to his old position as Disney's top executive, he announced during a town hall meeting that the freeze would remain in place.

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