ABC restructures news, aims to cut 300-400 jobs

LOS ANGELES Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:23pm EST

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co said it was restructuring its ABC News division, and a source familiar with the situation said the company aimed to cut 300 to 400 jobs or more than 20 percent of its staff.

The staff cuts would be the most substantial since David Westin became president of ABC News 13 years ago. An ABC spokesman said the division employs about 1,500 people.

In a memo to staff, Westin said on Tuesday the operation needed to re-think how it carried out its role and anticipate change rather than just respond to it.

"When we are finished, many job descriptions will be different, different skill sets may be required, and, yes, we will likely have substantially fewer people on staff at ABC News," Westin said in the memo.

To ease the transition, ABC was offering voluntary separation packages to all full-time, U.S.-based, non-union, non-contract employees, Westin said.

The response to the voluntary program will determine the extent to which ABC will need to make further cuts, he said.

(Reporting by Susan Zeidler, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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