Disney Plans Resorts Reorganization, Layoffs

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Disney Plans Resorts Reorganization, Layoffs

The Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday said it would eliminate an undisclosed number of jobs as part of a sweeping corporate overhaul at its domestic resorts, which includes plans to combine back-office operations at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Disney would not say how many jobs it intends to cut or how much money it expects to save through the moves. The company employs about 80,000 people at its U.S. resorts, including 62,000 in Central Florida.

With the shakeup, Disney will consolidate East and West Coast "operating infrastructure" — responsibilities ranging from procurement to menu-planning to merchandise — under Al Weiss, the president of worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

The plans also call for uniting disparate creative engineering and business development units under single executives.

In a written statement, Disney said it was forced to speed up corporate streamlining plans by the worsening global recession, which has eroded revenue at its theme parks and elsewhere across the Burbank, Calif.-company's media-and-entertainment empire.

"These changes are essential to maintaining our leadership position in family tourism and reflect today's economic realities," Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo said in the statement.

In a separate memo to employees Wednesday, Rasulo wrote that "organization changes require difficult decisions, including the elimination of some roles.

"These decisions were not made lightly and we know this will be a challenging transition. The people affected are our friends and colleagues, and they have made valuable contributions," Rasulo added in the memo.

The announcement comes the same month Disney revealed that its first quarter profits fell 32 percent. Operating profit in the parks-and-resorts division fell 24 percent during the three-month period, which ended Dec. 27.

Full Story: Orlando Sentinel