Donahoe pledges “significant” change as he starts as USPS chief

USPS postmaster general Pat Donahoe urged his workforce to adapt to the “reality of a smaller marketplace”, as he began his first day in the new job today. In an open letter to United States Postal Service employees, Mr Donahoe said the continued success of the organization would depend on its ability to leverage core strengths to cope with changing mailing habits.

Mirroring comments to the Senate last week, Mr Donahoe spoke of the need for a more “nimble” Postal Service, competing for customers in the an “increasingly digital world”.

He said “significant changes” would be made throughout the organization, including improvements in customer service and a reduction of costs by lowering energy use, and plans to both “realign” the workforce and optimize the network.

Other key plans from the new postmaster general were to build the USPS presence in its competitive products including investment in tracking technologies to build business-to-consumer offerings, particularly for small businesses.

Mr Donahoe also identified the package delivery market as an area of “major growth” that he was aiming to pursue, including the growing e-commerce market. The Postal Service would build on the success of its flat rate shipping campaign, he said.

The USPS is currently battling with the unions, the regulators and Congress to drive through reforms to cut its annual $8.5 billion losses.

The new postmaster general, who has spent 35 years in the US Postal Service, said the organization would not turn away from its core mail and package delivery services. But, he said the USPS would have to do more to connect with the “evolving nature of the way people communicate and conduct business”.

Even with negotiations with the American Postal Workers Union continuing over the weekend regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the new USPS postmaster general insisted in his letter that he wanted “frequent, open communications” with his workforce under his tenure.

Mr Donahoe told his staff: “As I begin my new role, I am ever mindful that our greatest strength is our people. It is to your credit that the Postal Service has been able to respond so successfully to the recent economic downturn.”

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