The Chapek-Era is coming to a close as newly reinstated CEO Bob Iger makes good on his promise to restructure the Walt Disney Company. On his first day back at the office, Iger announced that he’d be walking back many of the changes implemented by Bob Chapek, which includes sorting out the mess he made of the media arm of the company.
Under Chapek, the Disney Media and Entertainment Division was created to consolidate all of Disney’s tech, content operations, platforms, media distribution, and streaming. Iger seeks to dissolve the department entirely. This move has been praised by many because it will put creative control back into the hands of creatives rather than a centralized executive.
However, the dissolution of the Disney Media and Entertainment Division will mean more layoffs would come down the pipeline. The ball already started rolling when, in one of his first moves as CEO, Iger fired the Division Department head (and Chapek Loyalist) Kareem Daniel.
Iger already announced that the hiring freeze under Chapek would remain in place as the company seeks to bolster its positioning on Wall Street. The round of layoffs would further its attempts at solvency because the current structure puts financial losses in the hands of The Walt Disney Company directly rather than the individual departments or production partners.
The company also is making moves to streamline its television studios under one umbrella. Currently, Disney is in control of 20th Television, 20th Television Animation, ABC Signature, FX Productions, Searchlight Television, and Walt Disney Television Alternative. By consolidating these branches into one department, Disney will cut costs and overhead significantly. Still, this move will also come with significant layoffs as many positions will be eliminated in the consolidation process.
These additional layoffs are an unfortunate consequence of Chapek Era mismanagement and overreach. Bob Chapek notoriously mismanaged Disney+, even going so far as to make moves that, while legal, sought to hide the losses the streaming service was experiencing. Iger’s current task is to untangle the mess and bring Disney+ out of the red and into the black. Doing so will be no easy task, and casualties are to be expected in the process.