CBS makes 'painful' layoffs due to coronavirus, restructuring

A merger contributed to the firings, the company CEO said.

Last Updated:
May 28, 2020 - 5:39pm

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CBS this week became the latest media brand to lay off some of its employees, a decision that company leaders said was motivated by the coronavirus fallout and by restructuring after a recent corporate merger. 

Company CEO George Cheeks said in a memo to employees that the TV network is "in the process of restructuring various operations, and unfortunately, this means there are layoffs." 

Cheeks said the layoffs were motivated by "several reasons," including a "continued integration of operations following the merger with Viacom," as well as "ongoing and transformative changes happening in the media business, as well as circumstances from the unprecedented pandemic that we continue to navigate."

Susan Zirinsky, the president of CBS News, meanwhile, also told employees via a memo that the company has "a responsibility to respond to a financial world that has changed dramatically over the last few months," though she stressed that "there isn’t a single person we won’t miss."

"These decisions are particularly painful for our entire organization, which has performed at the highest level during the Covid-19 pandemic, overcoming so many obstacles," she wrote. "But this restructuring is necessary to ensure CBS News remains strong long into the future."

A total of 400 employees were reportedly let go from the organization. 

CBS joins numerous other news groups such as Condé Nast, Vice Media Group and the Economist in letting workers go due at least in part to the economic fallout from the pandemic. 

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