INTERNATIONAL: American Red Cross to axe 30 communications staff

WASHINGTON, DC: The national HQ of the American Red Cross is to axe around 30 staff from its communications and marketing department.

The cuts are part of a organisation-wide downsizing, which is expected to affect around 100 of the 2,400 staff based in Washington, DC.

According to spokesman Darren Irby, the bulk of those to be axed work on internal products, such as training videos and brochures. The remaining cuts involve support staff.

'We are about to start a new fiscal year with new leadership that asked for a top-to-bottom re-organisation,' he said.

'There will now be both an internal and an external comms group.

'The changes are the result of a communications audit and other audits to determine the strategic, human and material needs for the organisation in coming years,' he added.

In addition to layoffs, a hiring freeze has been put in place, some open positions will be eliminated and an organisational restructuring has been ordered by interim chief executive Harold Decker.

Despite the downsizing, the media relations operation is expected to grow from the current four-strong team to six following the review.

In addition to media relations, the department works on research, brand promotion, entertainment outreach, advertising, and field communications with local branches.

It also has a large internal communications component.

Recent press reports suggest some chapters of the Red Cross have experienced decreasing funds, blamed on factors including the recession and the shift of donations to the Liberty Fund designed to help those affected by the 11 September terrorist attacks.

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