Disney & Fox Corporation End Temporary Executive Pay Cuts Related To COVID-19 Pandemic

EXCLUSIVE: Thousands of executives across The Walt Disney Company and Fox Corporation are getting their paychecks restored to pre-COVID-19 levels.

We hear the temporary pay cuts, which Fox imposed due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the entertainment industry, ended July 31 as originally planned. The Disney temporary salary reductions, which had been open-ended, will be lifted starting August 23., sources say.

The impacted executives from both companies were recently notified in internal emails, we’ve learned.

Citing the adverse affects of the pandemic, Fox Corp. Executive chairman-CEO Lachlan Murdoch on April 22 informed staff that, both chairman Rupert Murdoch and himself, along with COO John Nallen, chief legal and policy officer Viet Dinh and CFO Steve Tomsic, will forgo their salaries through September 30, with the rest of Lachlan Murdoch’s direct reports executive team reducing their salaries by 50% through the same period. Those reductions are still in effect and will remain in place through end of September, sources said.

Per the April 22 memo, from May 1st through July 31st, 2020, Fox Corp. executives at the VP level and above were to reduce their salaries by 15%.

While the Hollywood shutdown is still in effect for the most part, with many movie theaters and theme parks closed and filming very slowly moving toward a return, Fox Corp. restored mid-level executives’ pay on July 31 as originally projected. Dinh delivered the news to impacted employees in a July 23 note, a copy of which was obtained by Deadline.

“Starting on August 1, 2020, your base salary will no longer be impacted,” Dinh wrote. “The sacrifice you have made over the past several months has allowed us to protect our full-time colleagues with salary and benefit continuation. For that, we all thank you.”

Beginning in March 2020, Fox Corp. started paying full-time employees’ health insurance premiums, and the company recently extended the coverage through the end of the year.

Disney implemented pay cuts as a cost-cutting measure early in the pandemic, announcing on March 30 that “effective April 5, all VPs will have their salaries reduced by 20%, SVPs by 25%, and EVPs and above by 30%,” with Disney CEP Bob Chapek taking a 50%  reduction and executive chairman Bob Iger forgoing 100% of his salary. There was no end date set at the time. “This temporary action will remain in effect until we foresee a substantive recovery in our business,” Chapek wrote in the March 30 memo.

We hear the impacted employees at the House of Mouse were informed yesterday that the pay reduction period is ending, effective this Sunday. The changes will be reflected in executives’ next paychecks. The timing on of that restoration will varying depending on individual pay schedules. It is unclear whether the pay restoration would impact Iger and Chapek.

Reps for Disney did not respond to request for comment on the matter.

A slew of cash-strapped companies in a number of industries impacted by the pandemic resorted to slashing executive salaries in the global pandemic, from Boeing to AMC Entertainment.

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