The Walt Disney Company revealed in an email Monday that Bob Iger, the company’s Executive Chairman, would forgo his entire salary in response to the coronavirus crisis and the economic panic that it’s caused. The email was written by Bob Chapek, Disney’s CEO, who announced that he would be giving up 50% of his own salary.
The news comes just days after the international entertainment giant announced that all of its North American theme parks, including Disneyworld and Disneyland, would remain closed indefinitely, putting tens of thousands of park employees out of work. In his email to employees, Chapek maintained that Disney “has been paying its castmembers 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.”
In addition to the theme park closures, Disney’s Hollywood projects have been put on indefinite hold as the entertainment industry came to a screeching halt two weeks ago with the onset of the virus. Moreover, ESPN, the Disney-owned sports network, has taken a direct hit due to the cancellation of nearly all professional sporting events. Bracing for a huge financial hit, Disney executives are now forgoing their salaries as a partial means of preventing an economic disaster for the company.
Last year, Iger was reported to have earned $47.5 million. Chapek’s recorded yearly salary is $2.5 million, with an annual target bonus of $7.5 million. Additionally, Chapek wrote in his email to employees that “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 his email. “Your dedication and resilience during this difficult time are truly inspiring and it gives me renewed confidence that we will come through this crisis even stronger than before, as we have so many times in our company’s history.”