It’s been a long week for employees of The Walt Disney Company–especially those who are feeling the biggest impact of Disney’s massive wave of layoffs and new restructuring. For those who remain in their jobs, going to work looks very different.
On Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger hosted The Walt Disney Company’s 2023 fiscal first quarter earnings call. It’s the first one Iger has hosted since November 2019, just before he announced his immediate resignation in February 2020. And while Disney’s financial picture beat Wall Street analysts’ projections–and was far better than the picture presented by then-CEO Bob Chapek in November 2022–Iger followed his financial report with several announcements that shocked some and angered others.
For starters, Iger made it clear that costs at the House of Mouse must be reined in as he announced a plan to reduce those costs in an effort to save the company more than $5 billion–effective immediately. Part of his plan to cut costs includes laying off some 7,000 employees–a move that Disney Parks President Josh D’Amaro says will definitely be felt across the company, including Disney World and Disneyland.
Iger also announced a major restructuring of the company, which splits it into three sections: Disney Entertainment, ESPN, and Disney Parks, Products, and Experiences. Variety says it best:
“Under the new structure, TV chief Dana Walden and film studio head Alan Bergman will be running Disney Entertainment, which combines all of Disney’s TV, film, and streaming divisions. While they are overseeing content specific to their designated brands, they will together be responsible for the streaming strategy for Disney+ and Hulu. Michael Paull continues to oversee business and ops at Disney+ and Hulu, reporting to Bergman and Walden, while Joe Earley remains president of Hulu and Alisa Bowen president of Disney+, with both reporting to Paull.
Josh D’Amaro will remain at his post atop Parks, Experiences, and Products, while Jimmy Pitaro keeps ESPN.
Walden and Bergman will be in charge of international content and operations, alongside Pitaro for sports, prompting international chief Rebecca Campbell’s decision to exit her role. “An esteemed leader and longtime industry veteran, Campbell will stay on through June to help with the transition,” Disney said in a statement. Iger added in his own memo to staff, “She has been a truly valuable and trusted leader throughout her time here, and I am grateful for her innumerable contributions to this company.”
Bergman will have primary oversight over Disney Live Action, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight Pictures, as well as Disney Music Group and Disney Theatrical Group. Walden will run point on ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Owned Televisions Stations, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Content, and Onyx Collective.
Pitaro will continue to oversee eight linear networks, including ESPN and ESPN2; sports content across all Disney domestic and, going forward, international platforms; ESPN+; ESPN Audio; ESPN Digital; ESPN Social; ESPN Fantasy and a variety of owned sports events.”
The new organizational chart looks as follows:
CEO Bob Iger shared his commitment to the company during the reorganization, saying the new positioning was crafted so that The Walt Disney Company could experience a “new era of growth.”
“For nearly 100 years, storytelling and creativity have fueled The Walt Disney Company, with virtually every interaction we have with our consumers emanating from something creative. I am committed to positioning this company for a new era of growth. Our strategic restructuring will return creativity to the center of the company, increase accountability, improve results, and ensure the quality of our content and experiences.”
The new era begins now, and only time will tell whether Iger’s strategy will return the results the company is seeking. Disney is set to begin reporting results under the new structure by the end of the company’s fiscal year, which ends on September 30.