Crown Central Petroleum Corp. is cutting its Baltimore corporate staff to reduce costs and reorganizing what's left to prepare for a new management team, Chairman Henry A. Rosenberg Jr. said yesterday.
Mr. Rosenberg, 62, said he is restructuring the administration in anticipation of his retirement in a few years. He also said the company hasn't been as profitable as it should have been recently.
In the first nine months of this year, Crown earned $4 million, less than one-fourth the amount it made during the same period last year.
"We should have been doing a lot better," Mr. Rosenberg said.
Part of the problem is the recession, he said. "Our volume is flat. Margins aren't anything like they were last year."
But the company is reorganizing for the long term. "The industry is going through serious changes right now. . . . We are looking down the road to see who we are and what we are," he said.
The headquarters staff has been reduced by about 30 from last year's level of about 340, Mr. Rosenberg said. And by next spring, the staff here will likely be cut by another 30 employees, he said.
Many of the cuts at the corporate headquarters in the Blaustein Building downtown are a result of Crown's closure of marginally profitable gas stations and stores, said Senior Vice President William Snyder.
Crown has closed 200 outlets in the last year, which has reduced the company's employment by about 2,000 employees, Mr. Snyder said.
The company had previously announced it was shutting gas stations that sold less than 30,000 gallons a year.
As of Sept. 30, the changes had lowered Crown's costs by nearly $5 million a quarter, the company reported recently.
The new cuts and reorganization will save millions more, Mr. Rosenberg predicted.
Many of the top executives have been reshuffled, he said. As a result of a corporate analysis by Ernst & Young consultants, the company has shifted many administrative tasks away from corporate staff to each of the divisions: marketing, refining and transportation.
"We are flattening the organization," Mr. Rosenberg said.
Several longtime managers, including Mr. Snyder, will retire by the end of the year.
They will be replaced by younger executives or outsiders, Mr. Rosenberg said. Most of the changed or consolidated jobs will be taken by Crown veterans, he said.
A new president, Charles L. Dunlap, a former executive with an energy company in Hawaii, will start work in Baltimore Dec. 1.
And Mr. Rosenberg's son, Edward L. "Ned" Rosenberg, will move up to take charge of both corporate administration and finance. He had formerly been in charge of supply and transportation for the company.
"We are trying to get more exposure for the senior people for the future," he said.
Jokingly describing himself as "old and crotchety," Mr. Rosenberg said that he is looking looking forward to retirement.
And he said is excited by the reforms. "It is going to be good. . . . We will be more efficient. People will have to work harder," he said.
"I look forward to working with a younger team," he said.
By next year, Mr. Rosenberg said, he will be 10 years older than any other top executive at the company.