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IDW layoffs: April "reset" now confirmed to include 32 (not the originally announced 28) fired employees

Popverse can confirm some departures at the southern California-based publisher

IDW Publishing
Image credit: IDW Publishing

The news that IDW Media Holdings (AKA IDW Publishing and IDW Entertainment) was cutting around 39% of its workforce as part of a reorganization that saw the son of a family that controls the largest stake in the company take over as CEO took the comics industry by surprise in late April; as the dust settles, what actually happened and what this means for IDW as a comic book publisher is beginning to become clearer.

What has changed at IDW?

Slide from an IDW Media Holdings Company Overview for stockholders dated February 1, 2023
Image credit: IDW Media Holdings

As IDW continues to rebuild itself in the wake of its dramatic "reset," it's become clear that the company has been significantly impacted by the ascension of Davidi Jonas to the position of CEO, with the changes he's put in place to accompany his appointment.

According to sources, the marketing division of the company has been most dramatically impacted by the cuts, with all but one of the marketing staffers laid off - even those press like us would normally reach out to for official company statements to stories like this. (New hires are en route to change that, however; keep reading.)

Additionally, a number of editorial staffers have been cut, along with both the publisher and senior director of content strategy. What impact this might have on future publishing plans remain to be seen, especially considering news that the publisher and editor-in-chief position (the latter has remained empty since John Barber left the role in December 2021) have already been filled by existing editorial staff.

Slide from an IDW Media Holdings Company Overview for stockholders dated February 1, 2023
Image credit: IDW Media Holdings

One dilemma that IDW faces as it looks to increase profitability is that some of its most popular titles feature licensed material, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Star Trek... but that the cost of those licenses might make them less profitable than original content in the long run, especially given that licensed material is unavailable for IDW Entertainment to turn into movies or TV shows, which is a central part of IDW Media Holdings' business plan as a whole. Might that change IDW's relationship to licensed comics? That may be worth keeping an eye on across the coming months...

What IDW staffers are no longer with the company?

Officially, according to an SEC filing by IDW Media Holdings, the company laid off 28 staff as part of this round of layoffs; if the 39% figure the company gave was correct, this means that IDW Media Holdings currently has around 43 staffers remaining. Curiously, new CEO Davidi Jonas told Popverse that the number was actually 32, suggesting that either more layoffs occured after the SEC filing, that the filing wss incorrect, or that Jonas was mistaken. As identified by the company itself, the following three individuals are no longer with the company:

  • Allan Grafman, CEO IDW Media Holdings
  • Brooke Feinstein, CFO IDW Media Holdings
  • Paul Davidson, EVP IDW Entertainment
  • Daniel Kendrick, Snr. Director of Kids, Family & Animation

From IDW Publishing specifically, Popverse has identified the following staffers as having been laid off, through a combination of personal confirmation and IDW having deactivated particular email accounts:

  • Nachie Marsham, Publisher
  • Greg Gustin, Snr. Director, Content Strategy
  • Anna Morrow, VP Marketing & Publicity
  • Keith Davidsen, Director, PR & Marketing
  • Patrick O'Connell, Snr. Direct Market Sales Manager
  • Blake Kobashigawa, SVP Sales, Marketing & Strategy
  • Alex Hargett, VP Sales, Marketing & Strategy
  • Topher Alford, Snr Digital Marketing Manager
  • Julia Borden, Foreign Licensing Sales Manager
  • Devon Ashby, Sales and Marketing Associate
  • Ana Escalera, Sales and Marketing Associate
  • Jack Levesque, Art Director, Marketing
  • Shawn Lee, Art Director, Design & Production
  • Tom Waltz, Group Editor/Creative Director
  • Megan Brown, Editor Originals
  • Zac Boone, Associate Editor
  • Deandre Wiles, accountant

Further layoffs in editorial have been suggested.

What’s next for IDW?

IDW Media Holdings
Image credit: IDW

According to stock filings, IDW plans to backfill some vacant positions - which is began Monday with a series of promotions to fill its vacant publisher and editor-in-chief roles: Mark Doyle and Tara McCrillis have become co-publishers, with Jamie S. Rich stepping into the role of editor-in-chief.

The following people have also been confirmed as still working at the company:

  • Heather Antos, group editor, licensing
  • Maggie Howell, group editor, original content
  • Scott Dunbier, Special Projects Editor
  • David Mariotte, Editor
  • Kevin Schwoer, Snr. Director Talent Relations
  • Daniela Diiorio, Creative and Business Development Director, IDW Entertainment
  • Daniel Kendrick, SVP Film & Television, IDW Entertainment
  • Amber Huerta, COO

Additionally, Josh Frankel has joined the company as chief digital officer, and Gregg Katzman announced on social media that he would be joining the company as senior manager, public relations.

This story is continuing to develop. Keep your eyes on Popverse as it does.

IDW just narrowly avoided a finance issue as one of its banks fell victim to the ongoing global banking crisis.