PR still a focus for Amex despite "reengineering"

On May 18, American Express announced a "reengineering" initiative, intended to ultimately "produce cost benefits of approximately $800 million during the remainder of 2009," according...

On May 18, American Express announced a "reengineering" initiative, intended to ultimately "produce cost benefits of approximately $800 million during the remainder of 2009," according to the company's press release. The release goes on to outline some of the steps being taken to reach that goal, including the elimination of 4,000 jobs, about 6% of total global workforce, and reduced investment on marketing and business development, a cost benefit of about $500 million.

Joanna Lambert, VP of corporate and financial communications at Amex, would not break down how the reductions would impact staffing or initiatives in the PR area. But, despite these cuts, she said via e-mail, that PR is still important for the company.

"The corporate affairs and public relations functions were not the focus of the reengineering efforts," Lambert wrote to PRWeek. "Given the challenging economic environment, we have significantly reduced expenses across the business. However, we continue to focus on both core and new public relations programs that support the American Express brand and our business activities worldwide."

Lambert also couldn't discuss the details of the company's relationships with PR firms, but said Amex will work with firms going forward.

"We continue to work in partnership with PR firms where appropriate to support the American Express brand and our business activities worldwide," she wrote.

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