Rico Back, the former CEO of Royal Mail, has launched a scathing attack on the board of the organisation. He claimed that the chief executive lacked expertise and had handled negotiations with the Communication Workers Union poorly, causing strikes and mayhem in the run-up to Christmas.

Since months, Royal Mail and the CWU have been engaged in a fierce dispute over wages and changes to working conditions.

From the online grocer Ocado, Simon Thompson joined as CEO two years ago.


Since late August, more than 100,000 postal workers have participated in a series of strikes that culminated in six days of labour unrest just before Christmas.

In an effort to migrate to the expanding parcel delivery industry, the union has rejected Royal Mail’s “best and final” offer, which included a salary increase of up to 9 percent over 18 months in exchange for adjustments to working hours including Sunday working.

Back, a German entrepreneur who led the postal group from 2018 to 2020 and established its European parcel delivery division, claimed that the board “wasted time” and had “not executed correctly” while negotiating with the union.


He claimed that Royal Mail had missed the chance presented by the Covid epidemic to lay the groundwork for alterations to working procedures.

The former Royal Mail boss said: “They wasted time and have not executed properly. Posties understand the need to change but it needs to be done in a social, friendly way. The board missed this opportunity and right now is on a more confrontational path, which is not necessary. Also, the chief executive has never run a big company and does not have knowledge of logistics. Both together is a toxic mixture.”

Prior to working for Royal Mail, Thompson held key positions at HSBC and Morrisons before serving as the company’s chief product officer at Ocado.

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Back questioned Royal Mail’s choice to resume payouts after Covid and return £400 million to shareholders through a special dividend and share repurchase in late 2021.

He claimed that the funds should have been used to facilitate the transition away from letter delivery, which is on the decline, and toward parcel deliveries.

“I think if they had gone to the shareholders, they would have understood it,” Back said. “But they didn’t even try … They are back to square one now, they are back to the pre-Covid period, they are back to the start of the strategy.”

Source: The Guardian

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