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Simon Thompson CEO Royal Mail appointed today

By Chris Dawson January 11, 2021 - 10:59 am

The UK’s national postal operator has a new boss as of today. Early this morning an announcement was made making Simon Thompson CEO Royal Mail with immediate effect, picking up a £525,000 salary, 13.6% pension allowance and potentially bonuses if the company makes any profit and meets performance targets (None was paid this year, but in the recent bonuses have boosted Royal Mail CEO pay to around £1.5m per year.)

Previously Simon was Managing Director of the NHS Track & Trace app, Chief Product Officer at Ocado Group plc and prior to that customer focused positions at Wm. Morrison Supermarkets Plc and HSBC, as well as other digital companies such as Apple Inc. and lastminute.com.

Simon Thompson CEO Royal Mail will have any number of challenges awaiting him but can breathe a sigh of relief that at least the unions have been pacified for the near future… so long as he sticks to the agreement recently forged and doesn’t do a Rico Back and ignore what came before. The much vaunted modernisation will have to continue apace as Royal Mail adapts to a world of more parcels and fewer letters and naturally the pandemic will be the immediate focus for the group.

“Against the backdrop of a challenging year, our colleagues have once again demonstrated the invaluable service they provide for our communities up and down the country. Looking ahead, we need to build on the great trust we have on the doorstep. We need to develop a razor-sharp focus on the customer, making sure our services are delivering exactly what our customers need and want. And we need to explore new opportunities for growth. We now have a unique opportunity to grow our business, and I look forward to working with our colleagues and stakeholders to take this great company forward.”
– Simon Thompson, CEO, Royal Mail

Unlike previous Royal Mail CEOs, Simon will be boss of the UK only and his remit won’t include GLS as the board has split the two roles. GLS have been turning in remarkable profits (so much so in fact that the value of GLS has rocketed now making it unlikely to be sold off – the acquisition price would likely now be too steep for any potential acquiring business). Martin Seidenberg, Chief Executive of GLS, will join the Royal Mail plc Board on the 1st of April 2021.

Mick Jeavons, interim Chief Financial Officer for the Group since May 2020, will continue in that position on a permanent basis and will join the Royal Mail plc Board as an Executive Director with immediate effect.

Keith Williams, who has been acting as interim Executive Chair of the Group since May 2020, will revert back to being Non-Executive Chair.

As a result of these changes Stuart Simpson, who has been acting as interim Chief Executive of the UK business since May 2020, will leave Royal Mail at the end of January following a short handover period. He leaves with a £450,000 exit package plus 2020-21 bonus, time pro-rated for service, should one be paid and a handful of shares from both the Deferred Share Bonus Plan and Royal Mail Long-Term Incentive Plan. He can also claim up to £8,500 legal fees and £50,000 towards outplacement support to get a new job and, having been interim CEO of Royal Mail, will doubtless prove attractive to another business in the near future.

“Royal Mail in the UK is in a period of significant transition and needs to move quickly, put the customer at the heart of everything we do, and adapt our business to better serve changing customer needs. Simon has been a Non-Executive Director of the Group since November 2017 and already has significant knowledge of the Group and its operations. He also has a wealth of experience both in digital transformation and customer experience and is ideally placed to lead the opportunity to grow and expand our UK parcels business and to meet our customers’ needs across both letters and parcels.
 
Martin has made an impressive start as CEO of GLS. Bringing him onto the Group Board allows us to benefit from his detailed knowledge of the parcels sector and reflects the contribution of GLS to the Group.
 
We have two excellent leaders in place for each of our businesses, focused on the opportunities which they each have to grow and succeed in the future.
 
Mick has been with the Group for 27 years and has served in a variety of senior positions, including as Deputy Group CFO and before that, as Chief of Staff to the Group CEO. His deep experience of the Group and its operations will be invaluable.
 
The Board would like to congratulate all three on their appointments and extend its thanks to Stuart for his significant contribution to Royal Mail over the last eleven years, in particular for acting as interim Chief Executive of the UK business over the last eight months. We all wish him well as he develops his career outside Royal Mail.”

– Keith Williams, interim Executive Chair, Royal Mail

It is not yet known what impact will be felt by the lower levels of Royal Mail management, although their ranks are being decimated by the 2000 redundancies out of around 9700 managers announced in June 2020, a change which saw Nick Landon become interim Chief Commercial Officer. Those who have stayed in place might breathe a sigh of relief that a Royal Mail insider has taken over, although Simon has only been with the company for three years so may have his own ideas on how things will be run with less loyalty to time served leaders and managers than to the company itself that he is now charged with operating.

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