The Walt Disney Company announced today that Executive Chairman Robert A. Iger will forgo his entire salary, while recently named CEO Bob Chapek will take a 50 percent pay cut aa a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an email from Chapek sent to employees obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
This news comes days after the company made the decision to keep all North American theme parks closed until further notice. Other executives in The Walt Disney Company will also take salary cuts, according to the email.
Iger has been among the top paid executives in the entertainment and media sector. In the latest fiscal year, Iger earned $47.5 million as chairman and CEO, down from $65.6 million in fiscal 2018.
Bob Chapek’s base salary as CEO is $2.5 million, with an annual target bonus of $7.5 million, and an annual long-term incentive grant of $15 million. It is unclear whether the 50 percent pay cut will apply to his base salary or to his entire compensation package.
Chapek’s email also states, “effective April 5, all VPs will have their salaries reduced by 20 percent, SVPs by 25 percent and EVPs and above by 30 percent.”
“As we navigate through these uncharted waters, we’re asking much of you and, as always, you are rising to the challenge and we appreciate your support,” Chapek said in the email. “Your dedication and resilience during this difficult time are truly inspiring and it gives me renewed confidence that will we come through this crisis even stronger than before, we have so many times in our company’s history.”
On March 19, Disney warned investors that its financials would take a hit due to the pandemic. “There has been a disruption in creation and availability of content we rely on for our various distribution paths, including most significantly the cancellation of certain sports events and the shutting down of production of most film and television content,” the conglomerate wrote in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Disney officials said on Friday that Disneyland and Walt Disney World would be closed until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak, which as of Saturday has had over 600,000 confirmed cases and caused over 30,000 deaths worldwide.
The parks’ shopping districts and hotels are also closed, along with all North American Disney stores. Disneyland Resort Paris is closed as well.
“While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains The Walt Disney Company’s top priority,” a statement from the company reads. “As a result of this unprecedented pandemic and in line with direction provided by health experts and government officials, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice.”
The company added that it “has been paying its Cast Members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts castmembers through April 18.”
That news came a day after union leaders for both Disney parks sent letters to the company which demanded an update as staff was becoming more and more anxious with uncertainty.
Universal Studios previously extended its parks reopen date to April 19 and will pay employees to that date.
In related news, SeaWorld Entertainment said Friday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the company has temporarily furloughed more than 90 percent of its current employees as of April 1 due to its parks being closed.
“The furloughed employees will not receive compensation from the Company during the furlough period after March 31, 2020; however, subject to local regulations, these employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits,” the filing reads. “The furlough period is uncertain at this time due to the temporary park closures and will be reassessed as business conditions dictate.”