The other shoe has fallen: Fox started firing around 4,000 employees on Thursday, one day after the film and TV studio had completed its billion-dollar sale to Disney, a studio manager told TheWrap.
The high-level staff is likely to be the first to be hit by the cuts, the director said. Fox human resources are going to call employees at the senior vice president, executive vice president and presidential level to bring the news on Thursday.
Fox Head of Distribution Chris Aronson was one of the first executives in the studio to get the call, issuing a statement on Thursday announcing that he had let go.
“I am very grateful for my time at [Twentieth Century Fox] led by Tom, Jim and Stacey,” Aronson said in the statement. “It was an honor and privilege to lead the domestic distribution team, which I consider to be the gold standard in the company. Although I am disappointed that I should not continue, I am looking forward to a new chapter in starting this business during this exciting time of change. “
On Wednesday, Disney closed the acquisition of Fox’s $ 71.3 billion film and TV entertainment assets. Now the difficult process of merging the two gigantic companies begins.
The layoffs are expected to cut deeply through the Fox ranks. Some employees, the director said, will temporarily switch to a transition role, although it is currently unclear how long some will have a job with the newly merged company.
Disney has already put some of its senior leadership under the new structure, and announced in October that Emma Watts would make the transition to the studio’s management team, reporting directly to Disney studio head Alan Horn as vice president for Twentieth Century Fox Film and president of production at Fox.
Disney also said that Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula will remain as co-chairmen for Fox Searchlight and will also report directly to Horn, along with Elizabeth Gabler, who will serve as president of the production at Fox 2000.
Hours before Fox executives started calling about layoffs, Walt Disney Studio President Alan Horn and Studio President Alan Bergman sent a memo to Fox employees who thanked them for their patience as they prepared for “quite a bit of change.”
“Although there is a lot to look forward to, we know that this integration involves quite a few changes in our organizations,” wrote Horn and Bergman. “We want to acknowledge that and ensure that we are committed to following this process closely and communicating changes if we can – most importantly respecting all involved.”