Disney Parks & Resorts offers buyouts to 619 executives throughout the company
by, 01-22-2009 at 09:45 PM (2924 Views)
On Wednesday, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced a Voluntary Separation Plan (VSP) for domestic Parks and Resorts executives to achieve further reductions in the cost of running the company's massive theme parks business.
In a statement regarding the offering, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Executive Vice President for Worldwide Public Affairs Leslie Goodman said that "[t]his immediate action is designed to allow us to effectively manage our business while we continue to deliver an outstanding guest experience and remain focused on achieving long term growth."
The VSP is one of "a number of initiatives to contain costs and maximize efficiency. Given the continued uncertainty of the economic environment, we must manage our business even more productively," said Goodman.
In all, 619 executives throughout Walt Disney Parks and Resorts were offered the buyout. The bulk of the executives are based in Orlando, with 313 people from Walt Disney World, the Disney Cruise Line and the Disney Vacation Club getting the proposed package. Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California was the next hardest hit, with 193 execs on the line. 91 people at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and 22 at Disney Parks and Resorts corporate offices in Burbank rounded out the group.
Voluntary Separation Plans are Disney's way of trying to reduce the workforce without laying anybody off. It has done so many times over the years, with varying degrees of success, according to former cast members who spoke to MousePlanet.
A current Disney executive familiar with the plan confirmed that the VSP was offered to all executives at director-level and above, with the exception of those under contract or with unique circumstances who are ineligible to participate in the plan. The company had a long-range plan of consolidating the executive workforce and saving money by shrinking the executive ranks through attrition, but the faltering economy has accelerated the timeable, necessitating the VSP. The goal of the plan is to reduce the size of the executive workforce, and positions will definitely be going away, even if the economy recovers and resort income returns to prior levels.
This plan is targeted specifically at the executives and not at the front line, and nothing is under consideration at this time beyond this initiative. The executive assured MousePlanet that those affected by this buyout plan are upper-level employees and no impact on guest contact level employees is expected at this time. Of course, if the economy remains sour and income continues to drop, further measures may become necessary; however, nothing is on the table or under consideration at this time.
The executive that we spoke with does not have information on how many executives are expected to take the buyout package, nor were they able to provide how many must take it to avoid involuntary separations, a.k.a. layoffs. We'll have to wait and see on that. In the meantime, here's hoping that the projections in the consolidation plan are accurate, that the necessary number of volunteers is met, and that those who stay can be efficient and effective under the consolidation plan. (And, of course, that the economic strain subsides and revenue at the resorts do not drop further.)