The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced restructuring actions in its corporate headquarters and North American Tire organizations that will result in the elimination of more than 700 salaried staff positions. The actions are being taken as part of an ongoing program to improve the company’s fixed-cost structure. Of the total, nearly 500 jobs will be eliminated through layoff, including 350 in Akron. The remaining layoffs will be distributed across the corporation’s other North American locations. Approximately 200 of the job eliminations have been achieved through attrition since the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2002. Separately, the company announced that 34 hourly positions at the Akron Technical Center will be eliminated. The actions, for which the company will take a pre-tax charge of approximately $75 million, are expected to result in annualized savings totaling $80 million, of which $75 million is expected to be achieved during 2003. Of the positions eliminated, about half are in the company’s North American Tire operation, with the remainder coming from Goodyear’s corporate function and support groups. The job reductions are expected to be complete by March 31. After these actions, Goodyear will continue to employ more than 3,000 associates in Akron. “The year 2003 will be one of change and transformation for Goodyear. For Goodyear to restore its earnings growth momentum in this difficult economy, especially in North America, we must improve our cost structure, simplify our business processes and operate more efficiently while continuing to serve our customers,” said Robert J. Keegan, president and chief executive officer. “Difficult actions such as these must be among those we take. “These decisions were not made lightly,” he said. “While painful for our associates and the Akron community, they are necessary to accelerate Goodyear’s turnaround and help it achieve our goals for growth, market position and financial performance. We must focus on making Goodyear a strong employer both in the Akron area and worldwide for the thousands of associates who will continue to work for this company.” Goodyear is the world’s largest tire company, employing about 92,000 people worldwide.