As part of its first effort to cut about 7,000 employees, Disney eliminated a small business unit focused on exploring the Metaverse.
About 50 employees were part of a group dedicated to “next generation storytelling and consumer experiences.”Elimination of units originally reported by wall street journalwas confirmed on deadline by a person familiar with the layoffs.
Mike White, the former consumer products executive who led the division, will remain with the company in a role that has yet to be determined, the sources said. On Monday, Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a staff memo that the first round of three layoffs will begin this week as the company moves toward its $5.5 billion cost-cutting goal. Rumors surfaced Monday night that a number of executives across the company’s general entertainment business had resigned.
Former CEO Bob Chapek has previously spoken of the Metaverse as a significant growth opportunity for Disney, not only for the Theme Parks unit he once ran, but for other divisions as well. The Metaverse has attracted many companies looking to be among the first to board the next wave of change. Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, has changed its corporate identity to reflect its new focus. However, most investments in metaverse technology have yet to pay off.
Chapek’s predecessor, Bob Iger, who succeeded him last November, emphasized certain initiatives for Chapek, primarily undoing its previous corporate structure with its centralized distribution operations. Iger has no lack of enthusiasm for technology. The executive describes his relationship with late Apple CEO Steve Jobs as one of the most significant in his personal and professional life. He also sat on Apple’s board of directors, planned the acquisition of Pixar, and brokered a game-changing TV and movie streaming deal with the tech giant during his previous tenure as CEO.