WWE also cut a number of international office employees and WWE Studios employees today, according to PWInsider and Deadline.
It was noted that the film, TV and social media divisions in Stamford, CT and Los Angeles, CA were impacted with WWE Studios seeing layoffs in features, TV and digital/social media, which was related to the WWE Advanced Media Group cuts. Deadline backed up the previous reports on various departments being consolidated into a single division, with a smaller staff running those operations, reportedly led by longtime WWE employee Kevin Dunn, who is the Executive Producer & Chief of Global Television Distribution.
Deadline described the WWE Studios cuts as “deep” and they were described as a “bloodbath” to PWInsider. Deadline noted that WWE President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan broke the news of the departures today by phone call.
It was noted that Khan, in another show of his growing power, will personally be overseeing the international offices in order to keep them in closer alignment with WWE HQ here in the United States. We noted before that Jay Rosenstock was released from his job as WWE’s Executive Vice President of International. Rosenstock’s departure was a part of the international changes. Rosenstock was responsible for overseeing WWE’s eight international regional managers, but Khan will now handle those duties.
WWE Human Resources held a brief call this afternoon to confirm what had been reported earlier today, that employees who remained in the digital/Advanced Media group divisions would now report to Dunn in the TV department. The call reportedly did not consist of much more than that. We noted before that an employee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, and it’s believed that the layoffs will be discussed then as well.
The end of the Advanced Media Group as it existed has been taken really hard by the people who worked there as these changes came out of nowhere for the people in those divisions, especially since this was a department that grew greatly in importance and revenue for WWE over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to PWInsider. There was also something described as a “gallows humor” joke going around among some of the employees who were let go today, pointing out that just in the last week, WWE had sent an internal email offering bonuses for employee referrals and now, perhaps, they should just refer themselves to get their jobs back, and get the bonus in the process.
It was noted before that at least 35 people were let go today, with that number increasing by a lot when the WWE Studios and international departures are factored in. The following names were previously confirmed: former WWE Advanced Media Group Executive Vice President Jaylar Donlan, after more than 8 years with the company; former Senior Vice President of Production Brian Pellegatto, after just under 9 years with the company; former Executive Vice President of International Jay Rosenstock, after just under 2 years with the company; former Vice President of Media Operations Makham Nolana, after just over 2 years with the company; former Content Director James Wortman, after 11 years with the company.
In an update, longtime employee Adam Kirshner was also released on Tuesday. Kirshner most recently worked as the Manager of Media & Metadata for the company, and had been on the staff for more than 15 years. Kirshner played a big part in growing the WWE YouTube channel and the WWE Network.
Kirshner’s departure came as a big shock to others in the company. He took to Twitter and issued a statement after being let go.
“As of today I am no longer with WWE. I’ve had a tremendous career and had the honor to build the greatest team. From first ever dotcom intern to a leader I’ve seen and done it all. I am truly looking forward to giving this same 110% and then some where ever I land,” Kirshner wrote.
Regarding WWE letting go of Pellegatto, WWE RAW Superstar Xavier Woods took to Twitter this afternoon and gave him credit for some of his success.
Woods wrote, “Without @Pelle1105 – An unbooked me wouldnt have been able to hone my mic skills on the WWE app (second screen) – I wouldnt have had a creative space to build chemistry with @WWEBigE & @TrueKofi – I wouldnt have been able to create @UpUpDwnDwn – I wouldnt have the life I have now”
Below are the related tweets from Kirshner and Woods:
As of today I am no longer with WWE. I’ve had a tremendous career and had the honor to build the greatest team. From first ever dotcom intern to a leader I’ve seen and done it all. I am truly looking forward to giving this same 110% and then some where ever I land.
— Adam Kirshner (@AKirshner123) May 25, 2021
– An unbooked me wouldnt have been able to hone my mic skills on the WWE app (second screen)
– I wouldnt have had a creative space to build chemistry with @WWEBigE & @TrueKofi
– I wouldnt have been able to create @UpUpDwnDwn
– I wouldnt have the life I have now
— Austin #Creed4G4 – Future King of The Ring (@AustinCreedWins) May 25, 2021