Rupert Murdoch Downplays National Geographic Layoffs
“This is a journey – we’re changing our structure along with how we work”, wrote National Geographic CEO Gary Knell to staffers Tuesday.
A statement from the organization says the “National Geographic Society and the National Geographic Channels are in the process of reorganizing” in anticipation of closing their deal with 21st Century Fox, “which is expected to occur in mid-November”. He followed up the next day with another email explaining that job cuts are part of a new strategy.
At the time of the deal’s announcement, James Murdoch, chief executive of 21st Century Fox, said in remarks to National Geographic that the pact created “an expanded canvas for the National Geographic brand to grow and reach customers in new ways, and to reach new customers”. “Part of these efforts also means making the toughest of decisions about the staffing needs of the organizations going forward”. Under the $725 million deal, The National Geographic Society will own 27% of the combined venture. The National Geographic Society itself will remain a non-profit entity.
The National Geographic Society of Washington will lay off about 180 of its 2,000-member workforce in a cost-cutting move that follows the sale of its famous magazine and other assets to a company controlled by Rupert Murdoch. “All staff have been advised as to their status as of closing”.
In addition to layoffs that amounted to 9 percent of the 2,000-member staff, an unspecified number will receive buyout offers. Several people in the channel’s fact-checking department, for example, were terminated on Tuesday, employees said. The pact is slated to close in mid-November.