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Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson is negotiating an exit strategy

Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson is negotiating an exit strategy

The Royal Mail CEO is in advanced talks to leave the corporation, just weeks after his credibility was called into doubt by MPs examining the former state-owned monopoly's performance.
The board of International Distributions Services (IDS), Royal Mail's London-listed owner, may announce Simon Thompson's resignation as soon as this week.

According to city sources, Mr Thompson had become more disillusioned with his work in recent weeks, amid a fierce battle with union bosses over the company's future.

According to an industry insider, several board members have concluded that the company requires new leadership following a period of turmoil.

On Monday, an insider stated that major elements of his departure had not to be finalized, implying that a formal statement could still be postponed beyond this week.

However, the person noted that an announcement was "likely" to be made before IDS released its annual results on May 18.

If confirmed, it would bring an end to a mainly unpleasant tenure that began just over two years ago.

Mr Thompson joined the IDS board as a non-executive director in November 2017, having previously worked as an executive at Lastminute.com, Honda, HSBC, Motorola, and the supermarket group Wm Morrison.

His most recent position was with the online grocer Ocado.

He has faced criticism from all sides in recent months, with MPs on the business select committee ordering him to testify a second time after accusing him of deceiving them during a hearing in January.

Failures in company policy relating to working conditions and the monitoring of postal personnel, according to the committee's chairman, Labour MP Darren Jones, "can only be due to either an unacceptable level of incompetence or an unacceptable level of cluelessness about what is happening at Royal Mail."

IDS stated last month that it has achieved an agreement with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) following protracted negotiations in which it was suggested that Royal Mail could be forced into administration if a deal could not be reached.

The corporation employs around 140,000 people, making it one of the largest private sector employers in the United Kingdom.

The CWU agreement includes a 10% salary increase over three years and a £500 lump sum for eligible Royal Mail and Parcelforce employees.

More here: Simon Thompson accused of providing 'inconsistencies' in evidence to MPs.
Royal Mail apologizes for an April Fools' hoax offering wage raises for employees.

A profit-sharing system would also entitle employees to 20% of Royal Mail's earnings if the company was able to improve its performance during the length of the agreement.

In exchange, the corporation intends to change its working methods, including mandating regular Sunday work and implementing new seasonal working patterns.

A ballot of CWU members will be held on May 17 and will finish on June 7.

Executives have repeatedly cautioned in recent years that Royal Mail's universal service obligation (USO), which requires the business to deliver mail to every UK address for the price of a stamp and is supervised by Ofcom, is becoming increasingly unsustainable in the face of increased competition.

It's unclear whether the corporation, which is chaired by former British Airways CEO Keith Williams, has a replacement in mind for Mr Thompson.

Given the circumstances of his departure, any reward for the Royal Mail CEO, who made just over £750,000 last year, would be highly contentious.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government privatized Royal Mail Group in 2013, with then-business secretary Sir Vince Cable stating that privatization was a vital step to allow it to modernize.

The shares were priced at 330p and immediately skyrocketed, hitting a high of almost 500p, provoking claims that they were sold too cheaply.

However, its stock has struggled in recent years, closing at 245.8p on Friday, down a quarter in the last year.

On Monday, an IDS representative declined to comment.
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