American Express to cut jobs in corporate travel restructuring

By Kate Rice

American Express is cutting an estimated 5,400 jobs, with the largest reductions coming in its travel businesses, the company said on Thursday.

The company said it is cutting travel jobs because the industry is "being fundamentally reinvented as a result of the digital revolution."

The job cuts will be partly offset by jobs the company plans to add later in the year. The net result of the cuts and new jobs mean American Express expects to see its staffing levels drop 4% to 6% by the end of this year from the current number of 63,500. 

The job cuts will be implemented throughout the year and will be spread "proportionately" between the U.S. and international markets, American Express said.

The company said it is re-engineering its corporate travel business to "reduce its cost structure and invest in capabilities that better align it with the shift of customer volumes to online channels and automated servicing tools."

"Against the backdrop of an uneven economic recovery, these restructuring initiatives are designed to make American Express more nimble, more efficient and more effective in using our resources to drive growth,” said Kenneth Chenault, American Express chairman and CEO. "For the next two years, our aim is to hold annual operating expense increases to less than 3%.

"The overall restructuring program will put us in a better position as we seek to deliver strong results for shareholders and to maintain marketing and promotion investments at about 9% of revenues."

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly.  

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