Acting USPS Postmaster General John Potter announced his upcoming retirement back on Oct. 25. Potter has been postmaster general since 2001, and has led the postal service through challenging times, starting with the anthrax scares immediately after 9/11 and continuing through today’s sluggish economic climate.
Competition from electronic media intensified over the decade in which Potter served as postmaster general, and contributed to a tight financial situation within the USPS. In response, he sought to streamline operations through updating postal equipment to take advantage of current technology, and by cutting nearly 200,000 full-time positions. A postal service press release regarding his retirement credits him with saving $20 billion in operating costs during his leadership.
Potter’s successor, Deputy Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, appears to share his vision of a lean operation as a central component of the postal service’s future. An article in the Oct. 26 Washington Post describes Donahoe as looking toward improving operational efficiency, an assessment the outgoing postmaster general echoed in the USPS press release. Donahoe says in the Post article that another issue he’d like to focus on is shortening customer wait times.