Red Cross Might Move Some Workers to N.Va.

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The American Red Cross might relocate some of its employees from its downtown Washington headquarters to a satellite office in Northern Virginia to generate revenue, an official with the financially struggling disaster relief agency said yesterday.

The Red Cross maintains an emergency office building at an undisclosed location near Dulles International Airport in Loudoun County to be used in the event of an attack on Washington. Under the plan being considered, some headquarters staff would be moved there, opening office space at the charity's Washington headquarters for rental to commercial tenants, Red Cross spokeswoman Laura Howe said.

The Red Cross announced this year that it was facing a $200 million operating deficit partly because it is taking in less money. The Red Cross has laid off about 1,000 of its 3,000 national employees, the majority of whom work at the Washington headquarters, at 2025 E St. NW.

Red Cross managers are trying to eliminate the deficit by fiscal 2010. Moving some employees to Loudoun could help, but Howe cautioned that a final decision has not been made on the proposal.

"Knowing that we have a smaller number of staff in the Washington, D.C., area, knowing that we have a need to provide some revenue for the organization, we're looking at a number of options to house our employees," Howe said.

"There are a number of things on the table," she said. "I think we're looking at things that might generate some revenue for us with our building in downtown D.C."

Howe said she didn't know how many employees work at headquarters. She said officials have not determined how many people would be able to work in the Loudoun building but guessed several hundred could be moved there.

The 126-year-old charity handles half of the U.S. blood supply and has federal responsibility for coordinating the charitable response to the country's largest catastrophes. But its reputation has been battered by its response to Hurricane Katrina and rapid leadership turnover.

Gail J. McGovern, a Harvard Business School professor who has decades of management experience at AT&T and Fidelity Investments, will take over as the new president and chief executive of the Red Cross on June 23. McGovern succeeds Mark W. Everson, who was forced to resign in November for having what the Red Cross called an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate.

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