Keith Williams appointed new Royal Mail Chairman

By Chris Dawson March 22, 2019 - 8:33 am

This morning there’s another new Royal Mail Chairman announced, Keith Williams is to succeed Les Owen in May this year.

Les stepped up to the plate as Chairman in September 2018 with immediate effect to provide some continuity when Peter Long quit also with immediate effect. Royal Mail has previously indicated that Les would be in place for 12 to 18 months while they searched for a successor and so was effectively interim Chairman.

Now, after an external search process led by the Senior Independent Director, Orna Ni-Chionna, with support from a leading executive search agency it’s been concluded that the best man for the job is an insider already on the board. Keith Williams was appointed to the Royal Mail plc Board on 1 January 2018, appointed Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee in July 2018, and Deputy Chairman in November 2018.

Keith, says Royal Mail, is a highly regarded British business leader, who worked in the UK and internationally before joining British Airways Plc in 1998. He worked there for 18 years, including five years as CFO, three years as CEO and two years as Executive Chairman. During that time, he led the transformation of the company, building a leaner and more customer focused organisation with a sustainable future. Aviva plc announced today that Keith Williams will be stepping down as a Non-Executive Director and Chair of its Audit Committee immediately following the conclusion of the company’s AGM on 23 May 2019.

“Our external search has confirmed that Keith Williams is the right person to chair the Royal Mail Group through a significant period of change. The Company will benefit from his strong leadership skills, and his industrial relations, operational and strategic expertise.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Les for his dedication and commitment to Royal Mail. As Chairman since September, he has provided strong leadership and steady support to the Board as we have sought to address a number of very significant challenges. We are grateful to him for stepping up into the Chairman’s role as we sought to find a long-term appointee.”
– Orna Ni-Chionna, Senior Independent Director, Royal Mail plc

“I am delighted to accept this role. Royal Mail has many strengths, including great brands and great people, which form a platform for future success. The fast-moving delivery market means that we need to keep changing, and at greater pace. I look forward to working with Rico Back, our Group CEO, and the senior management team as we address the significant challenges facing our business.”
– Keith Williams, Deputy Chairman, Royal Mail plc

“As we previously communicated, my tenure as Chairman was planned to be for a limited period only. I am delighted with the announcement that Keith will succeed me in May. Over the next two months, we will work closely together to ensure that our management team are fully supported as they address the challenges we face in the UK letters and parcels business. Keith is well known to our management, provides continuity, and has in his time on the Board developed a deep understanding of our business and its priorities.

We are planning to further strengthen the Board in the coming months through the appointment of a number of additional Non-Executive Directors.”
– Les Owen, Chairman, Royal Mail plc

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