Royal Mail boss Simon Thompson to quit weeks after agreeing pay deal with striking workers

Simon Thompson (right) plans to step down from the role of CEO in October (Royal Mail/PA) (PA Media)
Simon Thompson (right) plans to step down from the role of CEO in October (Royal Mail/PA) (PA Media)

Royal Mail boss Simon Thompson has announced plans to quit, weeks after the postal delivery firm agreed a new pay deal with striking staff.

Thompson will leave the role on 31 October. The board of Royal Mail, which was privatised in 2013, is “in advanced stages of appointing a new CEO”.

Keith Williams, Chairman of Royal Mail parent International Distributions Services, said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Simon for his significant contribution over more than five years at Royal Mail, both as CEO and previously as a non-executive director of the Board.

“As CEO, his leadership, resilience and unwavering drive to ensure that Royal Mail transforms for the benefit of our customers means we have set a clear path to turn the business around.

“We are grateful for his dedication and what he has achieved at the company, and wish him well for the future.”

International Distributions Services said that Thompson “believes that, following the negotiators’ agreement between Royal Mail and the CWU, it is the right time for the company to move forward under new leadership”.

Thompson said: “I have been incredibly proud to lead Royal Mail during this crucial period in its 507 year history.

“The changes we have made, the infrastructure we have put in place, and the agreements negotiated with our trade unions mean that Royal Mail now has a chance to compete and grow. That is what I have always wanted, and it is now the right time to hand over to a new CEO to deliver the next stage of the company’s reinvention.

“I would like to thank my team for their support during a difficult and important time of change.”

The delivery service agreed a deal with the Communication Workers Union last month after almost a year of negotiations. That deal included A 10 per cent salary increase over three years and a one-off lump sum of £500.

Commenting on Simon Thompson’s resignation from Royal Mail, CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “Simon Thompson is one of the key individuals responsible for the financial crisis that Royal Mail Group has created over the course of the last year.

“The CEO was also one of the key people responsible for the appalling mantra of ‘it’s our business to run’ – which saw the employer openly attack its own workforce on a relentless basis, including developing a culture of imposition and creating service quality and USO failures on a scale which threatens the future of the company.

“However, we recognise that the CEO was only one of the senior leadership team responsible for the unacceptable actions and behaviours of managers across the UK throughout this dispute. Further change in Royal Mail Group’s leadership team is vital.

“It is important that the next Royal Mail Group CEO is somebody who understands the only way to turn around the fortunes of the company is by taking the workforce with them.”

Thompson’s annual salary for 2022 was £540,000, while he also received criticism after receiving a £140,000 “short-term bonus” at the end of the year. He joined Royal Mail from HSBC, where he was global head of digital commerce.