After a full week of layoffs that left thousands jobless, Disney announced on Monday that the company is set to hire 13,000 Cast Members. But the current layoffs continue with two more waves coming this month. Did we miss something?
The Walt Disney Company’s annual shareholders event on Monday afternoon kicked off with a special “sizzle reel” that has diehard fans crying happy tears and stepping back in time. CEO Bob Iger shared exciting news about things happening at Disney Parks and within the company. He touted Disney World’s new TRON Lightcycle / Run attraction, set to open April 4 after a nearly six-year-long wait. And even actor Dwayne Johnson had news to share via a video presentation starring the wrestler-turned-actor alongside his two young daughters.
But there were a few less thrilling things to discuss during the presentation as well. The annual shareholders event is a time for shareholders to hear directly from Disney execs about what’s going on at The Walt Disney Company, what goals the company has, and how they plan to achieve those goals. Such was the case during Monday’s meeting.
Shareholders were also asked to cast their ballots in three separate proxy votes, each one associated with the company’s transparency in disclosing information. The votes related to The Walt Disney Company’s political contributions, its charitable giving, and its business dealings with the Chinese Communist Party. Essentially, the proxy votes sought to discover whether shareholders believe Disney should be more forthcoming and detailed in its disclosures related to the three items.
While the majority of the topics during the meeting were fairly straightforward, one announcement from Disney CEO Bob Iger left many–shareholders, fans, and the general public alike–scratching their heads and wondering if there’s something they missed in Iger’s message.
Last week marked the first of three waves of layoffs as part of Disney’s plan to trim more than $5 billion in costs. Two more waves are said to be on the horizon in April, with one of the waves being forecast as a “bloodbath.” No one knows who’ll be next on the chopping block, but the first wave of cuts hit ABC News hard, leading to a restructuring of the organization, and the chairman of Marvel Entertainment was also granted his walking papers.
But amid the layoffs of what will total 7,000 Disney employees, or roughly 4% of its global workforce, Iger told shareholders that the company is planning to hire 13,000 Cast Members.
In response to a question posed by a shareholder about the steps that Disney has taken or will take to protect shareholder value with regard to the conflict between Disney and the State of Florida with regard to the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Bob Iger said the company is “currently planning” to invest more than $17 billion in the Walt Disney World Resort over the next decade, a move he says will ultimately result in approximately 13,000 new jobs at Disney. Iger said the huge investment will “attract more people to the state [of Florida] and generate more taxes.”
Iger didn’t share specifics about Disney’s 10-year plan of investing in the Central Florida Parks, only sharing that the company currently has such plans in the works.