What kind of boss will Disney be?
This is an issue for employees of 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, National Geographic Partners, FX Networks and other areas of Rupert Murdoch's former media empire. Wednesday was their first full day as a Walt Disney Co. staff member and the initial steps taken did little to alleviate the anxiety. Many employees arrived on the grounds of Fox City Century City expecting the worst. The Fox-Disney merger is expected to result in the loss of 4,000 jobs.
The ax must still fall, but many staff members believe that pink sheets could be distributed this week. There are rumors that some employees will be invited to stay for a transitional period, while others will receive severance pay almost immediately. Employees who stay should know who they will report to by Thursday.
The new Fox Corp. of Murdoch kept the lot of 20th Century Fox during the sales process. Disney signed a seven-year lease with Fox Corp. to continue hosting the 21st Century Fox activities she has just acquired. The bifurcation of the Disney-Fox consolidated transaction has led to speculation about where executives will settle in the long term: Burbank or Century City?
Wednesday, Iger was not seen on the fate of the Fox, but Alan Bergman, president of Walt Disney Studios, and its president, Alan Horn, should attend meetings. Dana Walden, president of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment, began her day on the Fox field.
Until now, communication is limited to a note from Disney's general manager, Bob Iger, who seemed to be hinting at deep cuts in staffing ahead.
"Our integration process will be an evolution, with some companies being more affected than others," wrote Iger. "We have already made many critical decisions, but some areas still need further evaluation. We may not have all the answers to your questions at the moment, but we understand how vital information is and we are committed to acting as quickly as possible to clarify the implications of your role.
Human Resources also contacted employees via a link to a portal detailing Disney's organizational structure and describing the key benefits.
On Monday, shortly before the sale was finalized, Fox staff members received a note from Murdoch, who thanked them for being part of the studio's story. This is one of the first letters staff have received in solo for months – he has generally co-signed his missives with sons Lachlan and James.
"For decades, we have been a catalyst for change, motivated by our aversion to complacency, our sense of curiosity for the world and our passion for bold ideas," wrote Murdoch. "Together, over the decades, we have charted new territories, served customers from all continents and shaped a bright future for our business.
Lachlan Murdoch seems to be evolving aggressively into the future, which will see him try to take advantage of Fox News, Fox Broadcasting and Fox Sports to become a multimedia player that will rely heavily on sport and the latest news. In the near future, Fox Corporation will share its space with FX Networks, Searchlight and everything else that 20th Century Fox's film and television production business will become. This could be embarrassing, as staff members wondered whether common areas such as the police station would be accessible to Fox Corp employees. and Disney.
Lachlan Murdoch specified who owns the physical space. On Wednesday, employees traveling to the parking lot who were on the field were accompanied by a banner reading "Welcome to Fox".
Murdoch must hold a city hall for employees of Fox Corp. Thursday morning. Fox Corp. also announced plans to hold an investor conference on May 9. Disney is preparing for a presentation to investors on April 11 to detail its plans for the launch of the Disney Plus service after the merger by the end of the year.