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Wednesday, 28 March, 2001, 00:11 GMT 01:11 UK
Disney to axe 4,000 jobs
The Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World in Florida is currently undergoing a hiring freeze
The Walt Disney Company has said it will eliminate 4,000 full-time jobs, or about 3% of its work force, citing "increasingly pressing challenges of the softening economic environment."

The media and entertainment giant said it would try to achieve the cuts through a voluntary programme within the next month, but that layoffs will occur if the full reduction is not achieved.


Despite our progress, the economy has become more challenging in recent months and we must continue to seek ways to manage our businesses even more productively.

Disney letter to employees

The cuts will come across all operating areas, including the company's corporate staff in Burbank, California, and would be accomplished by July, the company said.

The company employs 120,000 workers worldwide, with the greatest concentration - 55,000 - in Orlando, Florida.

Annual savings

Disney spokesman John Dreyer said the cuts would result in $350m to $400m in annual savings.

In a letter addressed to "fellow cast members" (Disney employees), company chairman Michael Eisner and president Robert Iger said the Disney had been working to contain costs and operate more efficiently.

"But despite our progress, the economy has become more challenging in recent months and we must continue to seek ways to manage our businesses even more productively," the letter said.

Since January, the company has laid off 535 workers from its Walt Disney Internet Group.

Internet failure

The company also said at that time it would eliminate its tracking stock for the Internet division after failing to make inroads into the portal marketplace, dominated by Yahoo and America Online.

Disney Chairman Michael Eisner
The company chairman wrote to all employees

In a separate move, Walt Disney World, central Florida's largest employer, ordered a hiring freeze, only critical positions will be filled there.

The company's ABC Television network has struggled recently with a softening advertising market due to a general weakness in the economy.

Analysts have been concerned that declining consumer confidence would hurt attendance at the company's theme parks.

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See also:

19 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Disney settles Fantasia claim
05 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Disney and Sony lead worldwide takings
31 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Silent star heir sues Disney
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