DC Comics Faces Layoffs and Restructuring

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The news broke Wednesday, confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, that DC is undergoing a major restructure intended to focus the company primarily on the publishing side of business. Around three percent of DC’s 240-person workforce has been laid off as part of this shake-up.

The most well-known names to be let go thus far are senior VP sales trade marketing John Cunningham, VP consumer marketing Eddie Scannell, and senior VP art director Mark Chiarello.

Moving forward, the company will be organized into three divisions: Editorial, overseen by editor-in-chief Bob Harras; Production & Manufacturing, overseen by senior VP manufacturing and operations Alison Gill; and the new Publishing Support Services, which will handle sales, marketing and promotion, overseen by DC veteran Hank Kanalz.

DC Collectibles, which handles merchandising for the company, is moving to Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ Toy team.

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THR also ran a copy of the memo to DC employees, written by Pam Lifford, President of Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences:

Today has been a challenging day. We have made organizational changes across DC that we believe will help to strengthen and evolve the division for future success. With these changes come difficult decisions which we take very seriously.

We recognize and appreciate that all of our employees have made considerable contributions to our business and that it is difficult to lose colleagues, many of whom have been here for a long time and have made an important impact on DC. We thank them for their hard work and dedication to DC. As always, we are committed to taking care of our employees and will be as thoughtful as possible with those who are impacted by these changes.

Together with Dan and Jim, and the executive team, we have spent time assessing DC’s business, as well as the comic book publishing landscape. DC is going back to its roots of delivering epic stories with our world-class characters, stories, and brands. Being a premier house of storytelling will never go out of style, and we intend to ultimately super-serve our existing fans, while providing new compelling content that engages and excites even more fans around the globe. Rest assured, the direct market will remain at the heart of our business – and will continue to be one of our greatest strengths.

The new streamlined structure is focused on creating, delivering and supporting a robust publishing operation that will allow DC to be nimble, navigate an industry in change, and thrive. As we communicated today, we are forming three distinct work streams – Editorial, Production & Manufacturing and Publishing Support Services.

  • Editorial will continue to be run by Bob Harras, SVP & Editor-In-Chief, who will now also be responsible for new initiatives and global publishing, editorial scheduling, and art direction
  • Production & Manufacturing will continue to be run by Alison Gill, SVP Manufacturing & Operations
  • Publishing Support Services is a new business unit consisting of all departments that support the sales, marketing and promotion of our books, and this will be run by Hank Kanalz who is taking on additional responsibilities as SVP Publishing Strategy & Support Services As a result – DC Collectibles and its team will be part of the Consumer Products Toy team moving forward.

We recognize there are other groups across DC who are not fully dedicated to supporting the publishing business and, therefore, are not directly addressed in today’s news. As The Global Brands & Experiences structure continues to develop, I look forward to sharing more with you as that evolves.

Many of you will have questions, and in the coming days, you will receive more information from Bob, Alison, and Hank about their teams. Together with Dan and Jim, I will be hosting Town Hall meetings Thursday on the individual floors to discuss these changes and provide more insight.

Thank you again for your support, hard work and loyalty to DC. Each of you are incredibly valued, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow afternoon where I will do my best to answer any questions.

Pam

Of course, this isn’t the only big news to shake DC in the past year. DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson left her position last June after 22 years at the company; one week later, Geoff Johns stepped down as DC President and Chief Creative Officer to write and produce new content instead.

Do these moves sound like the right direction for DC? Comment below!

Kevin Sharp
From alternating Batman & Green Lantern as childhood Halloween costumes, to getting punched in my adolescent heart by Love & Rockets, to playing convention sidekick to the legendary Len Wein, I feel like the comics medium & characters are part of my DNA.

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