Disney to Furlough Non-Essential Employees Beginning April 19

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. will start furloughing non-essential U.S. employees April 19, the company announced.

Disney committed to full pay and benefits for all employees through April 18.

“With no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time,” a Disney representative said in a statement.

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Furloughed workers will remain Disney employees through the furlough period and will receive full healthcare benefits with Disney will paying the cost of premiums.

Disney did not report the number of employees that would be affected.

GameStop Lays Off 50 Regional Managers

GameStop has reportedly laid off 50 mid-level employees as it grapples with changing distribution and consumer consumption of video games.

The world’s largest video game retailer, in a leaked email posted on Twitter citing ongoing companywide restructuring, said the cuts “are not easy” but necessary to enable investment in “revenue-driving” initiatives.

“Unfortunately, there are more than 50 field leaders who have been impacted and will be leaving the GameStop team,” GameStop said in the email. “This includes regional, district HR [human resources], and LP [loss prevention] leaders. These leaders will be missed and we wish them success in their future endeavors.”

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New CEO George Sherman has pledged to shake up the status quo in an effort to transform the retailer, which posted a 75% drop in income in its most-recent fiscal period — driven in part by a 35% drop in console sales. Revenue fell 13.3% to $1.54 billion.

Specifically, Sherman wants to focus on the 20% of SKUs that drive 80% of our business. Notable among those performing SKUs: Collectables. The segment saw sales increase 10.5% to $157.3 million, with continued growth of trend items in both domestic and international stores.

“We’ll continue to get better at that piece of the business through inventory optimization and expand the assortment of exclusive products that our customers desire,” Sherman said on the June fiscal call.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Marketing Executive James Finn Exiting

James Finn, co-head of marketing at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, is exiting the studio after nearly 20 years.

Fox, which was acquired by The Walt Disney Co. for $71.3 billion, has been streamlining staff, including executives, as a result of the March 2019 merger. So far there have been three rounds of layoffs; departing executives in the first round, which happened immediately following the closure of the acquisition, included Mike Dunn, the longtime home entertainment president.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Finn had been let go or chose to depart on his own. Finn was known for his strong relationships with the media, innovative approach to marketing and passion for all things high-tech, particularly in the areas of virtual reality and augmented reality.

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In a parting e-mail sent to colleagues and the media obtained by Media Play News, Finn wrote, “For nearly 20 years I’ve called Fox my home, and I’ve read many of these ‘peace out’ emails. While some have been inspiring, sweet, funny and kind, nearly all of them have been too long. So I’ll try to break that trend. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in every step of the way. Thank you to my colleagues, my mentors, my family, my friends and my team for making it so much fun.”

Finn, known for his sense of humor, in a postscript quipped, “I intended to keep it shorter but I had already hit the send button before I could edit it down.”

Last year, Finn was selected as one of Media Play News‘ digital drivers. “Finn works across two distinct business units at 20th Century Fox,” the article noted. “As co-head of marketing for home entertainment, he leads marketing communications strategies in the rapidly developing digital and disc transactional businesses. As the head of marketing for FoxNext, he oversees marketing across interactive and immersive experiences and games.”

Finn began his 20th Century Fox career in Oct. 2000 as a publicist in New York, where according to his LinkedIn profile he “leveraged expansive media relations to secure widespread press coverage for noteworthy films, including Cast Away, Moulin Rouge, Ice Age, Minority Report, X2, The Day After Tomorrow, I, Robot, and Master and Commander.”

In June 2003, he was named VP, national publicity, for Fox Searchlight Pictures, and in August 2009 he moved west to California to succeed Steve Feldstein as SVP, corporate and marketing communications, at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In April 2013 he was promoted to EVP and co-head of marketing for both 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and the Fox Innovation Lab.

Finn assumed additional duties, as EVP and head of marketing at FoxNext, in May 2017.

Prior to 20th Century Fox, he worked at Miramax and NBC News, both in New York.

Finn holds a bachelor of business administration degree from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business.