WASHINGTON: Amtrak is centralizing its media relations reporting structure to cut costs and improve efficiency following a string of trying crises, including problems with its popular high-speed Acela service.
Part of a wider restructuring, the move will see the company close its Philadelphia strategic business unit, which covers operations in the Northeast corridor, including the Acela, and consolidate its regional media operations into its Washington, DC headquarters. Media relations for all three strategic business units, including Oakland-based Amtrak West and Chicago-based Intercity, will now report to corporate communications in Washington.
Amtrak confirmed that some jobs will be cut, but declined to say how many. PR staffers have been asked to reapply for jobs.
Overseeing the consolidated department is corporate communications chief Bill Schultz, who reports to VP of marketing and sales Barbara Richardson.
Formerly VP of communications, Schultz had the VP dropped from his title as part of a wider titular shakeup, which saw the number of VPs reduced from 85 to fewer than 20.
Schultz declined to comment on the reshuffle.
The embattled publicly funded company has suffered through a year chockful of crises, from terrorism fears to a showdown over funding with the White House to a spate of derailments. And this month, Amtrak removed its popular high-speed Acela trains from service upon the discovery of dangerous wear and tear to the trains and tracks.