Disney announces upcoming layoffs, hiring freeze to cut costs in internal memo from CEO Bob Chapek: report

The Walt Disney Co. plans to freeze hiring and cut some jobs ahead of the winter holidays after a disappointing quarter, according to a report.

In the memo sent to employees, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the company would move forward with prioritizing cost-cutting measures, including “some staff reductions.”

“I am fully aware that this will be a difficult process for many of you and your teams,” Chapek wrote. “We have to make tough and uncomfortable decisions. But that̵[ads1]7;s exactly what leadership requires, and I thank you in advance for stepping up at this important time.”

Disney announces upcoming layoffs, hiring freeze to cut costs in internal memo from CEO Bob Chapek: report

This photo illustration shows the Walt Disney Company logo displayed on a smartphone. (Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“As we work through this evaluation process, we will look at all possible operations and manpower to find savings, and we anticipate some reductions in staffing as part of this review,” Chapek said in the memo sent Friday.


The CEO also said the company would limit the number of additional employees it hires and was focused on bringing in new employees only in the “most critical, business-driving positions.”

“We are limiting headcount through a targeted hiring freeze. Hiring for the small subset of the most critical, business-driving positions will continue, but all other roles are on hold. Your segment managers and HR teams have more specific details on how this will apply across teams yours.”

Walt Disney logo on a warehouse window

Walt Disney’s company logo appears as traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during afternoon trading. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Disney has about 190,000 employees, a number that has been falling annually since 2018.

The note is the latest business indicator of how Disney plans to follow up a disappointing quarter, which appeared to demoralize investors. The company’s shares fell to a 52-week low on Wednesday, from $101 on Monday to just under $87. They have since rebounded to around $95 as of Friday night.


Chapek also indicated in the memo that Disney will establish “a cost structure task force” to further reduce the company’s expenses. It will be led by CEO, CFO Christine McCarthy and General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez.

The memo comes just days after McCarthy first announced Disney’s intention to make both short-term and long-term changes to save money.

“We are actively evaluating our cost base currently and we are looking for meaningful efficiencies,” she said. “Some of these are going to provide some short-term savings, and others are going to drive long-term structural benefits.”

An image of a Disney+ streaming menu

The Disney+ streaming login screen is shown on a television, Monday, August 9, 2021, in East Derry, NH Walt Disney Reports Quarterly Financial Results Reports Quarterly Financial Results. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa/AP Newsroom)


Disney has been facing significant losses as unrelenting inflation continues to squeeze the wallets of consumers. And while the Disney+ streaming service continues to gain subscriptions — the company boasted a 12.1 million subscriber gain this quarter — operating losses continue to pile up. Disney reported a loss of about $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter.

The company has also been embroiled in controversy, including its open opposition to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ signing of a bill preventing the teaching of sexual orientation in classrooms and claims of being too “awake” for some consumers.

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