The mouse is about to clean house.
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.”
A course correction comes at a cost
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.
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