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Layoffs underway at Walt Disney Studios amid consolidation of operations [UPDATED]

[Updated at 10:45 a.m.: An earlier version said stage productions were affected, but that information could not be confirmed.]

Walt Disney Studios has further streamlined its distribution and marketing operations.

Twenty-three-year domestic distribution veteran Chuck Viane will take on added responsibilities for international sales across 70 countries. In communications, another studio veteran, Heidi Trotta, senior vice president of studio communications, is transitioning to a consulting role, as former theme parks publicist John Nicoletti takes over as vice president of global communications. He will be joined by Paul Roeder as director of global communications.

Christine Cadena, senior vice president of marketing, will take on a new role as senior vice president of multicultural initiatives.  Michelle Sewell has been promoted to senior vice president of global publicity, overseeing both domestic and international publicity departments, and she will be responsible for executing worldwide publicity campaigns for Disney's live action and animated movies. Sewell is to report to the studio's head of marketing, a position Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross has yet to fill after ousting Jim Gallagher and his boss, Mark Zoradi.

Disney confirmed that it is continuing its "reorganization of the workforce," with dozens of jobs lost from its home entertainment division. 

"Our industry is evolving rapidly," said Ross in a statement. "In order to remain at its forefront, we are adapting our organization to be more agile, creative and responsive."

A round of layoffs has begun at Walt Disney Studios today as part of a continued, sweeping restructuring of operations under Ross.

Attempting to rein in costs, the Burbank studio has been consolidating operations within its theatrical and home-entertainment divisions.

The cost-savings move comes as Ross and his boss, Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, have continued, since last fall, to remake the studio, streamlining its business units and ousting a number of top executives in production, marketing and distribution while clamping down on the costs of making and promoting movies.

Nearly four years ago, Disney undertook a similar belt-tightening move when it combined its domestic and international theatrical and home-entertainment marketing and distribution units, resulting in 650 employees losing their jobs and saving Disney about $100 million in overhead.

Update: (12:10 a.m., Jan. 15): For more on the layoffs and the appointment of Sean Bailey as Disney's president of production, see the story in today's Times.

-- Dawn Chmielewski and Claudia Eller

 
Comments () | Archives (23)

Are Mickey and Donald still around?

I smell a rat, and it ain't Mickey -- the Disney powers that be certainly have a fairly accurate measurement of just how many people this will affect... so much for being a family establishment!

Yaaaa! Misery loves company!

My heart and prayers go out to the Disney folks today. I've been there, and know how hard it is to be laid off from such a great company. But keep the faith, and new opportunities always arise!

Better hurry and shut the whole damn thing down before nobama locates you and taxes you into prison.

Posted by: DeWayne "Are Mickey and Donald still around?"

Of course they are.. they're running the place!!!

Oh wait.. sorry.. Mickey is in charge of NBC TV lineups.. D'oh!

No.. wait.. thats Goofy who's running NBC..


Maybe the layed off workers can apply for those shovel-ready jobs Obama promised. How ironic that the entertainment industry, which probably supported Obama's election by a 99 percent margin, discovers that he cannot prevent or cure economic upheaval. Democrats in Congress are of little use when a job goes. Maybe a movie is in this about naive reliance on politicians to solve problems. It would be a break from the anti-military, anti-America obsession of filmmakers these days.

Nothing like quality leadership, eh?

Perhaps the Iger household could use Bob at home a bit more too?

If they fire everybody they would save a fortune
and keep all the money for themselves.
They could start by fire that mouse's girlfriend
first, then get rid of the mouse and work from
there.

The latest word is that close to 400 people will be removed during this! series of layoffs, and consolidation....

Many families will be celebrating the New Year with a Pink Slip....

Disney laying off people is Obama's fault. Really? Are you for real? I voted for the guy but I certainly don't expect him to solve everything that's wrong with the world. When Disney streamlined 4 years ago, nobody was blaming Bush!?!? How about leaving politics and politicians out of the conversation for once. It's too convenient and convenience doesn't equate to being correct in this case.

What's with the Obama hatred?

Disney's layoffs have nothing to do with the current administration. I'm sure the top brass keeps their cushy jobs & bonuses, while the foot soldiers are being cut loose. Same old.

Look at the huge amounts of money Iger and cohorts have stuffed into their pockets just the last 6 months... and this is going on for years and years:

9-Jan-10 RASULO JAMES A
Officer 31,040 Direct Option Exercise at $31.74 per share. $985,209
9-Jan-10 RASULO JAMES A
Officer 31,415 Direct Disposition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $997,112
9-Jan-10 RASULO JAMES A
Officer 36,251 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $1,150,606
9-Jan-10 PARKER MARY JAYNE
Officer 2,812 Direct Option Exercise at $31.74 per share. $89,252
9-Jan-10 PARKER MARY JAYNE
Officer 1,035 Direct Disposition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $32,850
9-Jan-10 MAYER KEVIN A
Officer 6,363 Direct Option Exercise at $31.74 per share. $201,961
9-Jan-10 MAYER KEVIN A
Officer 8,536 Direct Disposition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $270,932
9-Jan-10 MAYER KEVIN A
Officer 12,583 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $399,384
9-Jan-10 MCCARTHY CHRISTINE M
Officer 5,090 Direct Option Exercise at $31.74 per share. $161,556
9-Jan-10 MCCARTHY CHRISTINE M
Officer 5,640 Direct Disposition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $179,013
9-Jan-10 MCCARTHY CHRISTINE M
Officer 10,066 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $319,494
9-Jan-10 BRAVERMAN ALAN N
Officer 19,708 Direct Option Exercise at $31.74 per share. $625,531
9-Jan-10 BRAVERMAN ALAN N
Officer 20,471 Direct Disposition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $649,749
9-Jan-10 BRAVERMAN ALAN N
Officer 24,178 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $767,409
9-Jan-10 IGER ROBERT A
Officer 67,565 Direct Option Exercise at $31.74 - $317350 per share. N/A
9-Jan-10 IGER ROBERT A
Officer 84,048 Direct Disposition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $2,667,683
9-Jan-10 IGER ROBERT A
Officer 112,478 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $3,570,051
9-Jan-10 WOODFORD BRENT
Officer 7,819 Direct Option Exercise at $31.74 per share. $248,175
9-Jan-10 WOODFORD BRENT
Officer 2,871 Direct Disposition (Non Open Market) at $31.74 per share. $91,125
4-Jan-10 IGER ROBERT A
Officer 800,000 Direct Option Exercise at $21.05 per share. $16,840,000
4-Jan-10 IGER ROBERT A
Officer 800,000 Direct Automatic Sale at $32.27 per share. $25,816,000
1-Jan-10 RASULO JAMES A
Officer 19,621 Indirect Statement of Ownership N/A
31-Dec-09 SMITH ORIN
Director 652 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.21 per share. $21,000
31-Dec-09 ESTRIN JUDITH
Director 652 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.21 per share. $21,000
31-Dec-09 LEWIS AYLWIN B
Director 1,098 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.21 per share. $35,366
31-Dec-09 ARNOLD SUSAN E
Director 1,001 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.21 per share. $32,242
31-Dec-09 BRYSON JOHN E
Director 1,273 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.21 per share. $41,003
31-Dec-09 PEPPER JOHN E
Director 3,880 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.21 per share. $124,974
31-Dec-09 LOZANO MONICA C
Director 1,001 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.21 per share. $32,242
31-Dec-09 CHEN JOHN S
Director 1,001 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.21 per share. $32,242
31-Dec-09 MATSCHULLAT ROBERT W
Director 1,428 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.31 per share. $46,138
31-Dec-09 LANGHAMMER FRED
Director 1,467 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $32.21 per share. $47,252
18-Dec-09 MCCARTHY CHRISTINE M
Officer 20,000 Direct Option Exercise at $22.20 per share. $444,000
18-Dec-09 MCCARTHY CHRISTINE M
Officer 22,000 Direct Sale at $31.98 per share. $703,560
15-Dec-09 WOODFORD BRENT
Officer 5,000 Direct Option Exercise at $28.03 per share. $140,150
15-Dec-09 WOODFORD BRENT
Officer 5,000 Direct Sale at $32.29 per share. $161,450
14-Dec-09 WOODFORD BRENT
Officer 5,000 Direct Sale at $31.90 per share. $159,500
1-Dec-09 STAGGS THOMAS O
Officer 18,838 Direct Disposition (Non Open Market) at $30.60 per share. $576,442
1-Dec-09 STAGGS THOMAS O
Officer 40,354 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $30.60 per share. $1,234,832
1-Dec-09 IGER ROBERT A
Officer 91,130 Direct Disposition (Non Open Market) at $30.60 per share. $2,788,578
1-Dec-09 IGER ROBERT A
Officer 194,547 Direct Acquisition (Non Open Market) at $30.60 per share. $5,953,138

I love how you people (far right republicans) can find a way to blame everything, even Disney laying off, or reorganizing some positions, on Obama ... man, how did you live during the Bush era, who could you blame for the woes of the world?

They are probably way overpaid anyways.

Yes well they fired my significant other a few months back. No reason. No excuse. Shocking to all involved especially because awards were being won for what he created. People literally thought it was a joke when it happened- out of nowhere and done after he was milked for every last bit of creative energy he had in him for months. Like when your boss asks you to do a real grunt work job as a personal favor and you work all day on it and then fires you at quitting time. Just had to kick you when you were down. Its thrown our lives into turmoil. Thanks Disney.

Ray, sorry to inform you that Disney staffers are not overpaid, only the execs are given horrendous paychecks. Disney, in fact, is well known in entertainment circles as a company that underpays and tirelessly toils its workers. There is a demand to work there by the Disney freaks, so Disney feels it can get away with it. Employees take jobs at 10 to 20 percent below market wage so they can get a crummy "Silver Pass" to get into Disneyland for free on those rare days when gratis entry is not blacked out. On the plus side, Disney still provides a pension to workers who give the organization more than five years of service (a pittance compared to reaping low wages). Overall, Disney is known as a sweatshop.

Bob Iger has earned every penny of that $50 million bucks from Disney stock.

Afterall, the stock's done absolutely nothing under his tenure. Wait a minute...

Not even Disney can keep everyone happy.

Hope all will be well for those looking for better opportunity.

(Please could we leave politics out of this?)

You repub skunks sat on your hands for eight long years as the Bush Crime Family plundered the Treasury, got us into the mess known as the Iraq War, shipped 5 million jobs out of the country and tanked the global economy.. now you want to blame President Obama for Disney's layoff??.. you repubs are nothing more than simpletons and morons.. Good Luck to the folks being laidoff at Disney, I hope you find another job soon.

Mickey has been down-sized and poor Donald’s on the dole;
Goofy’s using food stamps; faithful Pluto’s lost his bowl!
Management is heartless when it comes to vet’ran staff;
Disney could be haunting them and they would only laugh.
Scruples are an item that those wolves can still ignore,
Long as armored trucks keep bringing money in the door.
But when the chips are down and they need lots of loyalty,
Let them huff-n-puff, cuz they ain’t gettin’ it from me!

I guess it's not the happiest place on Earth after all!

Sorry to hear about your job loss, junebug. what division/department did he work in?
Hey, I hear Jay Rasulo just signed a $1.4 million dollar contract with 2 times his salary in bonus and 3 times his salary in stock options. He gets that deal and more for 5 years. I'll even bet an executive at that level gets an abundance of vacation time too don't you think? Does not seem right does it? Hope your lives get back to normal...


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