Disney CEO Bob Chapek Announces Company-wide Hiring Freeze and Layoffs

Disney CEO Bob Chapek has stated that the company will undergo a “targeted hiring freeze” and enact layoffs in an internal memo sent Friday afternoon.

Chapek contacted Disney’s division leaders regarding the “tough and uncomfortable decisions” that the company’s leadership will allegedly have to make. The memo likely comes in response to the results shared during Disney’s Q4 Earnings Call last week, which saw uncharacteristically poor results that caused company stock to reduce to the lowest it’s been in 52 weeks.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek During D23

Credit: Disney

Chapek’s memo establishes that Disney, which currently employs around 190,000 staff members across sectors, will limit “headcount additions” during this hiring freeze, and only take on new employees “for the small subset of the most critical, business-driving positions.”

Unfortunately, such behavior is not necessarily surprising. Both Disney Parks in the US laid off a record number of Cast Members from every department and at every level during the Covid-19 shut down in 2020 to 2021, as well as the infamous 400 Imagineers who worked to create their theme park’s dynamic and storied attractions and entertainment narratives.

Cinderella Castle

Credit: Disney

Additionally, other natural disasters such as Hurricane Ian and the now Tropical Storm Nicole at Walt Disney World also contributed to staggering monetary losses for the company in the wake of their Parks and Resorts actually being able to reopen.

Such economic hardships also contributed to the painful permanent closure of almost every Disney Store in the world last year, something which hit both Disney fans and Cast Members worldwide exceptionally hard.

Credit: Disney

Chapek will establish a “taskforce” of executives to reevaluate the company’s cost structure comprised of himself alongside Disney CFO Christine McCarthy and Horacio Gutierrez, Disney’s General Counsel. He posits things like “staff reductions” as “necessary to achieve objectives.”

The document highlights that the fate of the Walt Disney Company’s streaming service, Disney+, was another driving factor in this conclusion. Aside from rendering Disney “a more efficient and nimble company overall,” Chapek distinguishes “the important goal of reaching profitability for Disney+ in fiscal 2024… against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.”

McCarthy had previously established that Disney had plans to examine its operations (specifically, for areas like the Disney Parks) in order to maximize internal savings against cost inflation.

fantasyland disneyland paris

Source: Disney

So, could this decision hint at future dark waters for the Walt Disney Company, perhaps even the end of Disney as we’ve come to know it in the years since its 1980s “renaissance?” It’s hard for any of us to know, but says Chapek:

Our transformation is designed to ensure we thrive not just today, but well into the future… Our company has weathered many challenges during our 100-year history, and I have no doubt we will achieve our goals and create a more nimble company better suited to the environment of tomorrow.

Despite the hiring freeze’s unfortunate implications for many dreaming of a career with Disney, and for those who have already achieved one that is put in jeopardy now, we can only hope he’s right if the Disney legacy is to sustain itself in the days to come. This story is still developing, and DisneyTips will be sure to provide updates as they become available. For now, you can read CEO Bob Chapek’s full statement here.

About Spencer Beck

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the halls of the Walt Disney Family Museum, and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @pinknpurble everywhere.