More Restructuring: High-Profile Execs Exit ABC News, Netflix, Roku Lays Off Another 200

The latest exits resulting from entertainment/media company restructurings now include high-profile executives at Disney’s ABC News and Netflix’s film group.

In addition, Roku announced that it is laying off 200 employees, following layoffs of the same number back in November.

Several veteran managers are among the 50 layoffs announced on Thursday by ABC News President Kim Godwin in a memo to staff.

Godwin said the news organization’s restructuring is part of Disney’s overall corporate restructuring/7,000-employee workforce reduction, which is necessary to create a “sustainable, growth-oriented path forward” for Disney.

Among those leaving: Wendy Fisher, senior vice president of newsgathering, who had been with the network since 1989; and Chris Vlasto, longtime head of the network’s investigative division, whose team broke the news of then-President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. 



Also exiting: Gale Gordon, SVP overseeing talent strategy and development; Executive Editorial Producer Heather Riley; VP Talent Mary Noonan; VP Corporate Communications Alison Rudnick; and Los Angeles Bureau Chief David Herndon.

Fisher’s responsibilities will be assumed by Katie den Daas, currently London bureau chief for the network. Vlasto’s will be taken over by Stacia Deshishku, currently SVP news. Gordon’s will be taken over by Godwin deputy Derek Medina.

At Netflix, two veterans are leaving as a result of a restructuring of the film group by its head, Scott Stuber: Lisa Nishimura, who led indie film and documentary features, and Ian Bricke, vice president of indie films.

All live-action film will now be overseen by Kira Goldberg, Ori Marmur and Nija Kuykendall.

Goldberg and Marmur were hired in 2021 to develop commercial-facing projects, and Kuykendall joined soon after, to oversee mid-budget film development.

Although Netflix is currently the only major streaming service showing a profit, the company is taking a more conservative approach to content spending this year that calls for releasing 50% fewer original films.

Roku’s announcement of a second round of layoffs drove its stock price up nearly 3% on Thursday.

The new round of 200 cuts represents 6% of its current workforce. 

The layoffs, described as a restructuring plan, will cost the streaming video and device maker $30 million to $35 million in severance payments and benefits, but lower its year-over-year operating expense growth, and enable shifting emphasis to projects that should produce a higher return on investment, Roku stated in its filing.

Roku also announced that it will sub-lease some office facilities.

Roku, impacted by slowed ad spending and inflation, reported essentially flat year-over-year revenue in Q4 2022.

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