Royal Mail hires new boss as regulator floats cutting services to three days a week

Royal Mail hires new boss as regulator floats cutting services to three days a week

Royal Mail to cut delivery days

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 02/04/2024

- 13:19

Updated: 02/04/2024

- 15:15

Delivery services with Royal Mail could be cut as the postal service company a new chief executive to oversee its operations

Royal Mail has announced the appointment of a new chief executive as the firm floats cutting delivery services to as little as three days a week.

Emma Gilthorpe, who has been the chief operating officer for Heathrow Airport since 2009, will become the postal service company’s top boss later this year.

She is set to join the group on May 1 before becoming Royal Mail chief executive in the summer following a handover with interim boss Martin Seidenberg.

Mr Gilthorpe replaces her predecessor who took on the job alongside his existing role as chief executive of the wider International Distributions Services (IDS) group last October.

Mr Seidenberg took on the additional role after Royal Mail boss Simon Thompson quit just weeks after agreeing a deal to end a bitter dispute with the firm’s main union.

This appointment comes as Ofcom explores options that could see Royal Mail slash its six-days-a-week service or extend delivery times.

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Royal Mail van and Emma Gilthorpe

Royal Mail has hired a new boss


A report from the industry regulator in January suggested an overhaul of the postal firm could see Royal Mail’s letter delivery service cut from six days to five, or even to three.

Another option being considered is to extend how long it takes for letters with Royal Mail stamps to be delivered.

This means that it would take three or more days for the majority of letters to arrive, but with a pricier next-day delivery service available when required.

Proposals are being consulted on by Ofcom with a deadline for responses by April 3, with a report set to be published sometime in the summer.

Under its universal service obligation (USO), Royal Mail has to deliver letters six days a week to all 32 million addresses in the UK for the price of a stamp.

The postal delivery company has asked the Government and the regulator to review its obligations, arguing that it is no longer workable or cost effective, given the decline in addressed letter post.

According to the firm, Royal Mail recorded a £419million loss in its previous financial year, while also being fined £5.6million last year for failing to meet its delivery targets.

Estimates from Ofcom suggest cutting Royal Mail’s letter delivery service to just three days could save it up to £650million.

Royal Mail has warned it may need a government subsidy to survive unless the universal service is reformed.

On the appointment of Royal Mail’s new boss, Mr Seidenberg said: “Emma has an impressive track record of delivering major strategic change programmes whilst driving up performance.


A Royal Mail postman delivers mail

Britons may see a change to Royal Mail delivery services in the near future


“She will bring a customer and employee-centric approach to delivering Royal Mail’s transformation for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Ms Gilthorpe added: “It is an exciting time to be joining Royal Mail at this crucial period for the company.

“Royal Mail is a great British brand with a long and proud history.

“Now is the time to ensure it has a successful future too, working in partnership with our employees, customers and all our stakeholders to continue to modernise Royal Mail and deliver the high standards of service our customers rightly expect.”

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