Disney begins laying off 7,000 employees, CEO Bob Iger announces

Disney CEO Bob Iger on Monday said his company will begin laying off staff starting this week, the first of three rounds of expected cuts following his announcement in February that the company would axe 7,000 jobs.

The cuts to Disney’s global workforce are part of a multibillion-dollar cost-cutting initiative aimed at streamlining the company’s operations in a period of media industry turmoil.

In a memo to staff obtained by CNN, Iger said the layoffs would come in three waves. The first round will begin this week, and managers will soon start to notify affected employees. A second, larger round of layoffs will take place in April, Iger said, with several thousand staffers let go. A third round of layoffs will then occur “before the beginning of the summer” to reach the company’s planned goal of eliminating 7,000 jobs.

“The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly,” Iger said in the memo. “In tough moments, we must always do what is required to ensure Disney can continue delivering exceptional entertainment to audiences and guests around the world – now, and long into the future.”

Disney (DIS) had about 220,000 workers as of October 1, of which approximately 166,000 were employed in the United States. A cut of 7,000 jobs represents about 3% of its global workforce.

The layoffs follow Iger’s return to Disney in November after the company’s board fired Bob Chapek as its leader.