As part of an ongoing review to ensure that the Studios’ operational structure and economics align with the demands of the current marketplace, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our staffing levels in several divisions of the Studio.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY AM: Disney shares are trading around their all-time high. But Wednesday looks like the day Disney will drop the ax for its expected layoffs. I have learned that about 150 people at Walt Disney Studios will receive pink slips. Sources say the cuts will come from across all of Disney Studios businesses, including the music and NYC-based theatre departments. At this point it looks like a one-time round of layoffs, but an overall reorganization affecting other divisions is planned for later this year and that could include more cuts. They’re coming as a result of an internal review ordered late last year by CEO Bob Iger and CFO Jay Rasulo to pinpoint superfluous positions and increase efficiency. But the company is already doing well with mega-blockbusters including The Avengers. Net profits for the fiscal year that ended in September increased 18% to $5.7 billion on revenues of $42.3 billion.
The projected staff cuts this week are not the first to hit the larger Disney empire of late. LucasArts, the video game division of the recently acquired Lucasfilms, shuttered its production on April 3 and laid off around 150 employees. There were also layoffs in Lucasfilms’ animation department after Disney announced in March that it was discontinuing production of the long-running Star Wars: The Clone Wars for Cartoon Network and pursing “ a new direction in animated programming.” In September, more than 100 Disney Interactive employees lost their jobs in what was called a reorganization within the online unit.