NEW YORK (AP) - American Express said Monday it is eliminating
about 4,000 jobs as part of a plan to slash another $800 million in
costs for the remainder of the year.
The layoffs represent about 6 percent of the credit card
issuer's current global work force.
Many of the affected workers were notified in recent days and
the remainder will be notified in coming weeks, company spokeswoman
Joanna Lambert said.
Lambert could not specify how many U.S. workers would be laid
off, but said the cuts will be across the board.
The newest plan follows $1.8 billion in cost cuts - including
7,000 layoffs - announced in October of last year. The company also
suspended management-level salary increases and instituted a hiring
freeze at the time.
As part of the newest cost-cutting plan, American Express also
plans to scale back investment spending and make further cuts to
operating costs, including professional services and travel.
"While we have remained solidly profitable at a time when some
parts of the card industry were incurring substantial losses, we
continue to be very cautious about the economic outlook and are
therefore moving forward with additional reengineering efforts to
help further reduce our operating costs," Kenneth I. Chenault,
chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The deep cost cuts show that even a company like American
Express, which prides itself on catering to a more affluent
clientele, is not immune to the pullback in consumer spending.
The company's customers are more heavily concentrated in
California and Florida, where the slumping housing market is taking
a toll. American Express also has a higher percentage of
small-business customers, and small businesses tend to miss
payments more than individuals, executives have said.
For the first three months of the year, the company's profit
fell 63 percent. It marked the sixth-straight quarter of profit
Shares of American Express rose $1.90 to $26.13 during the
regular session, then fell 11 cents during after hours trading.
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