Disney, already working to cut expenses at its domestic parks and resorts, is offering a voluntary separation plan to the executives in an effort to “contain costs and maximize efficiency,” said Leslie Goodman, executive vice president of worldwide public affairs at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in a statement.
“Given the continued uncertainty of the economic environment, we must manage our business even more productively,” Goodman said.
Disney shares rose 5% to close at $21.23 as U.S. stocks rebounded Wednesday amid optimism over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan.
The news comes a day after Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. Entertainment said it would cut about 800 jobs, or 10% of its workforce, in response to the ongoing global financial meltdown and shifting consumer demands.
Two months ago, when Disney announced fourth fiscal-quarter results, Chief Executive Bob Iger told analysts that the company was seeing the lowest consumer confidence in more than three decades due to the dismal state of the economy. He said that mindset could curtail consumer spending during the holiday season in 2008, “and almost certainly during calendar year 2009.”
Bookings at the company’s theme parks and resorts in October and early November had “fallen off considerably,” Iger said at the time.
“This is a team that manages through good times and really tough times — particularly in the 2001 period,” Iger went on to say. “So not only have we gone through this before, but we’ve gotten better at it, particularly in parks and resorts.”