Media giant Walt Disney Company has told staff it is cutting 4,000 jobs, around 3% of its total workforce, in its biggest series of employee cuts ever.

In an email sent yesterday to employees, whom it addressed sickly as “fellow cast members”, Disney blamed the economic downturn: “We need to face up to the increasingly pressing challenges of the softening economic environment,” it explained. Chief executive Michael Eisner and president Robert Iger added that job losses would be felt across all the company’s operations – albeit not at ceo and presidential level.

Analysts expect Disney to be hit hardest in its broadcasting activities, where the advertising slowdown will directly affect revenues. The decision to cut staff follows the axing of its portal in January [WAMN: 30-Jan-01].

The group announced that the job losses will save $350 million to $450m per year, with a one-time charge of $250m falling mostly in the third and fourth quarters. Excluding this charge, Disney still expects to meet its financial targets for 2001.

News source: Financial Times