Simon Thompson, a former Ocado government who additionally ran the NHS Take a look at and Hint app, has been named as Royal Mail’s new UK boss.
However he faces a tricky job reinvigorating the postal service whose final everlasting chief government, Rico Again, stop unexpectedly in Could.
Royal Mail has struggled to deal with a surge in parcel deliveries through the pandemic which induced delays over Christmas.
The amount of letters it delivers has additionally continued to fall as folks rely extra on e-mail and textual content.
The agency has admitted “failing to adapt” to the brand new actuality and “holding on to outdated working practices and a supply construction that now not meets buyer wants”.
The hope is that Mr Thompson, who has held customer-service oriented roles at HSBC and Lastminute.com, can carry the service into the 21st Century because it faces fierce competitors from throughout the parcel supply market.
“Adapting with flexibility shouldn’t be Royal Mail’s strongest level, and it’ll should be rather more nimble to maintain abreast of its prospects altering wants and keep in with an opportunity of maintaining with the competitors,” stated Susannah Streeter, an analyst at stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown.
What has gone incorrect at Royal Mail?
Mr Thompson’s appointment comes after a tricky 12 months for Royal Mail, which final month agreed a pay take care of the Communication Staff Union (CWU), ending a two-year dispute.
For the previous eight months the corporate has been run by interim chief government Stuart Simpson, who took over when Mr Again stepped down after lower than two years within the job. Mr Again had confronted criticism over his pay and was reportedly working the enterprise from his house in Switzerland on the time of his departure.
The service’s issues are deeper rooted, nevertheless, with gross sales having fallen in yearly however one because it was privatised in 2014.
Ms Streeter stated it had underinvested in new know-how for years, leaving it “taking part in catch up” with the competitors, regardless of its dominant place because the UK’s common postal supplier.
Its Common Service Obligation – to supply a postal service to all components of the UK at flat charges – is one other burden not confronted by its rivals.
“With the decline in letter writing accelerating, Royal Mail wants to higher capitalise on the web purchasing growth, but it surely struggled desperately over the festive interval to maintain up with the large demand on its service,” stated Ms Streeter.
“That’s more likely to have pushed a few of its conventional prospects into the arms of its rivals, with the likes of Hermes which makes use of self-employed couriers, proving a tricky competitor when it comes to worth.”
Can Mr Thompson sort things?
In line with Dr Paul Simmonds of Warwick Enterprise College, Mr Thompson’s expertise working for customer-focused companies akin to Apple, Honda and Ocado will likely be a “energy”. He additionally has some data of Royal Mail having been a non-executive director since 2017.
“Prime of his ‘in tray’ is the necessity to reinvigorate the group’s efforts to remodel itself,” Dr Simmonds stated.
A part of this may contain putting additional agreements with the CWU on pay and situations so it may possibly carry in additional environment friendly work practices, one thing that can take ability and diplomacy, he stated.
“Of equal significance is the query of what to do with the letters enterprise which is in terminal decline.”
It’s not all dangerous information for the enterprise as its worldwide arm, run by Martin Seidenberg, has been performing properly.
However on Monday, Royal Mail’s interim chairman Keith Williams stated the agency was in a interval of “important transition” and wanted to “transfer shortly” to enhance its companies.
Mr Thompson stated it had been a “difficult 12 months” for Royal Mail, including: “Trying forward, we have to construct on the nice belief we have now on the doorstep. We have to develop a razor-sharp concentrate on the shopper.”
Mr Thompson will likely be paid about 20% lower than Mr Again, with a base wage of £525,000 and a pension allowance of 13.6%.
He will even be eligible to take part within the agency’s short-term and long-term incentive plans, taking his whole annual remuneration to round £1.4m.
Mr Again took house £1.7m final 12 months and acquired a £5.8m payout on becoming a member of the agency regardless of shareholder objections.