Royal Mail Group plc

From WikiCorporates
(Redirected from Royal Mail)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Royal Mail is a postal service and courier company in the UK, originally established in 1516. ... ... regulated by OfCom ref

Pay Ratio: 78 to 1[1]




Royal Mail Group Ltd

We have two main businesses: in the UK, we operate under the Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide brands. Outside the UK, GLS is one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe. It provides geographical diversification for our earnings and is a growth engine for the Group. It is expanding its presence in European markets and through focused and targeted acquisitions to capture higher growth segments outside Europe. ref, ref

UK Parcels, International & Letters (UKPIL)

UKPIL comprises Royal Mail’s UK business and international parcels and letters delivery businesses under the ‘Royal Mail’ and ‘Parcelforce Worldwide’ brands. It supports the provision of services for the collection, sorting and delivery of parcels and letters by Royal Mail. This includes those services Royal Mail provides as the UK’s designated Universal Service Provider. Parcelforce Worldwide is a leading provider of express parcel delivery services. ref, p.3

General Logistics Systems (GLS)

International logistics company. Netherlands registered.


ToDo: AR-2019; AR-2018;

Our Story, link, link

  • Acquisition of LTL bolt-on business (ar-2019)
  • The selective franchisee acquisition strategy has continued in Europe, with the acquisition of Trento in Italy.(ar-2018)

  • Jun.2020: Royal Mail announced a cost-cutting plan that involved slashing ~2,000 jobs in a move accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis. One in five of its ~10,000 management roles will go by Mar.2021, in areas including IT, finance, marketing and sales. The company’s 90,000 postal workers would not be affected by the cuts.[2]
  • Sept.2018: Dicom Canada, a Canadian parcel delivery company, was acquired by General Logistics Systems from American private equity firm Wind Point Partners LP, who had bought it in Feb.2014 from its founder.[3] Montreal-based Dicom Canada offered ground-based parcel, freight and logistics services, with a network of 28 depots.[4] It is comprised of the business divisions of Dicom Transportation Group Canada and USA John Deere., pic-link, pic-link
  • Apr.2017: Postal Express Inc, a regional overnight parcel delivery company operating in in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA, was acquired by GLS-US Inc;s subsidiary, GSO.[5] Privately owned since its founding in 1985 as a local county messenger service. was the premier delivery and logistics provider to companies in the greater Northwest. PostalExpress.comArchive-org-sm.svg, pic-link
  • Oct.2016: Golden State Overnight Delivery Service Inc (GSO) was acquired from USA private equity firm The Halifax Group.[6] GSO is a California-based regional parcel delivery firm,[7] offering next-day services, principally in California. GSO.comArchive-org-sm.svg pic-link, pic-link, pic-link
  • The profits from asset stripping in the early years after privatisation, with hundreds of millions made from closing offices and selling off the land, have dried up.
  • Oct.2013: Flotation: the govt sold 60% of Royal Mail for 330p a share, despite opposition and claims it was being sold "on the cheap".[8] Ministers faced a barrage of criticism after shares leapt by 38% on the first day of trading, in particular because Royal Mail's property assets were not valued. A subsequent report stated that "the taxpayer could have missed out to the tune of many £millions.[9] Vince Cable’s 16 handpicked “priority” long-term investors – investment houses and banks – sold 43% of their shares in the first week to cash in on the skyrocketing share price.[10] Lazard Asset Management, advisor to the govt on the sale, made an £8.4m instant profit, selling all its shares. Cable lamely called this mere “post-privatisation froth”.[11]
  • Oct.2011: PostComm was merged into OfCom, the communications regulator.
  • 2011: The Postal Services Act 2011 was significant in that it led to the Post Office Ltd becoming independent of the Royal Mail Group as of 1 April 2012. As a newly formed mutual organisation, independence from Royal Mail enabled the Post Office to make independent strategic decisions. Network modernisation, including extended opening hours and a reduction of the Crown network by moving Crown post offices into shops, is laying the foundations for the Post Office Ltd to evolve further moving forward.
  • 2010: The new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition announced its intention to sell off the Royal Mail delivery business but retain the Post Office network in public ownership.
  • 2009: Opposition to Privatisation: the govt again delayed the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail. The sale of a 30% stake was due to go before parliament, but Business secretary Peter Mandelson punted until "later". The private sector had not evinced much interest.[12]
  • 2007: Royal Mail announced plans to close 2,500 Post Office branches.
  • 2006: the British postal service became open to competition. Competitors were allowed to collect, sort and pass mail to the Post Office for delivery.
  • 2006 Royal Mail lost its monopoly on the postal service when the regulator, PostComm, opened up the market three years ahead of the rest of Europe. Competitors can carry mail and pass it to Royal Mail for delivery. Pricing in Proportion (Pip) is also introduced for first and second class inland mail.
  • 2002: General Logistics Systems BV was established. German Parcel, founded in Germany in 1989, and acquired in 1999, had been grown through acquisitions, forming a cross-European parcel service.[13] General Logistics SystemsWikipedia-W.svg,, pic-link
  • Nov.2002: Royal Mail Group plc: Consignia renamed itself,[14] reversing the disastrous initial branding exercise which had universally met with massive dissaproval.[15]
  • Feb.2002: National Savings Bank was renamed as "National Savings and Investments", later shortened to "NS&I".[16]
  • 2001: Post Office Ltd as it is known in its current form came into existence.
  • Mar.2001: The Post Office becomes a plc, but the business brand names stay the same – Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide and Post Office for the network of high street Post Office branches.
  • Jan.2000: Postal Service Bill is published, providing The Post Office with new commercial freedoms and plc status, whilst giving a commitment to a universal postal service.
  • Jan.2001:
    Consignia plc: the Post Office's businesses were transferred to a new public limited company and renamed.[17][18] (pic-link in bbc ref). The govt became the sole shareholder in Consignia plc and its subsidiary Post Office Ltd. [Postal Services Act 2000] In Apr.2007, the Post Office Corporation was formally abolished. [Dissolution of the Post Office Order 2007]
  • Jan.2001:
    PostWatch, the Consumer Council for Postal Services, was established as a consumer watchdog for the postal services industry in the UK. Postwatch was also responsible for representing customer interests to PostComm, the Postal Services Regulator.[19]
  • 2000:
    PostComm, the Postal Services Commission, was established as a non-ministerial department to oversee the quality and universal service of post in the UK. Postcomm's primary focus was regulating Royal Mail (for letter delivery and to guarantee a universal postal service) and its two subsidiaries, Post Office Ltd and Parcelforce, although it was also charged with the licensing of the UK's postal operators. Postal Services Act 2000 Postal Services CommissionWikipedia-W.svg,,, pic-link
  • 1997: The Govt decided to keep the Post Office owned by the govt but give it more financial and commercial freedom.
  • Jul.1996: National Savings Bank became an Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.[21]
  • 1994: Opposition to Privatisation: The Royal Mail was the last big state-owned entity after the Tories sold dozens of state-owned companies, including British Airways, British Telecom, Jaguar, British Petroleum and British Steel. Trade & Industry Secretary Michael HeseltineWikipedia-W.svg, the primary advocate of a selloff, argued that privatization is the best choice in a world where the post office must compete with everything from Federal Express to faxes.[22]
  • 1990: Girobank was sold to the Alliance & Leicester Building Society. Alliance & Leicester (Girobank) Act 1993
  • 1990: Parcelforce was the Royal Mail Parcels business was rebranded and re-launched as an independent division with full control of its operation.
  • 1987: Post Office Counters Ltd: Post Office Counters became a limited company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Post Office.[23]
  • 1986: Post Office Group: Post Office functions were organised into 3 separate businesses: Royal Mail Letters, Royal Mail Parcels and Post Office Counters – under the name "Post Office Group".[23]
Additional Sources: The Royal Mail: a history of the British postal service. Heidi Blake, The Telegraph, Jun.10.2010. Original archived on Jun.13.2010.

Included: BT Group plc > British Telecommunications + Post Office Corporation + General Post Office + Origins (1516-1981)

Post Office Corporation

Labour (Callaghan)
National Girobank changed its name, using the word "bank" for the first time to promote itself as a proper bank. It also became the first bank to offer free banking to personal customers, as long as they were in credit.[24]
Labour (Wilson)
National Postcode System: the system of postcodes was rolled out across Britain.[25] Postcodes in the United Kingdom § Modern postcode systemWikipedia-W.svg
Conservatives (Heath)
National Giro became a separate business within the newly formed Post Office corporation.
Post Office Corporation: the General Post Office ceased to be a govt department and was abolished, with its assets being transferred to a new public corporation (a nationalised industry) with two divisions: "Post Office Telecommunications" and the "Post Office".[26] The Post Office was given the exclusive privilege of running telecommunications systems, with listed powers to authorise others to do so. Post Office Act 1969
The Post Office Savings Bank was hived off and re-constituted as a separate govt department, the Department for National Savings, reporting to HM Treasury.[27] Subsequently re-branded as the National Savings Bank. National Savings Bank Act 1971
National Giro, the Post Office’s new banking service, was launched.
Labour (Wilson)
The Govt's White Paper "A Post Office Giro" outlined a system which would use the Post Office as its business outlets. The White Paper was in response to a 1959 report, which recommended the introduction of a Giro System providing a simple, cheap and efficient money transfer service for both personal and business customers.[28]

General Post Office

The General Post Office grew to combine the functions of state postal system and telecommunications carrier, with similar General Post Offices being established across the British Empire. When new forms of communication came into existence in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the GPO claimed monopoly rights on the basis that, like the postal service, they involved delivery from a sender and to a receiver.

Labour (Attlee)
The majority of Cable & Wireless Ltd's UK assets and staff were transferred to the General Post Office.
Liberals (Asquith)
National Telephone Service: the General Post Office took over the entirety of the private sector telephone service, including the National Telephone Company Ltd and its telephone systems except for a few local authority services which all folded within a few years. The single exception was in Kingston-upon-Hull, where the Hull Municipal Corporation's telephone department eventually became Kingston Communications plc in Feb.1987. In 1912, the Post Office opened its National Telephone Service, becoming the monopoly supplier of the nation's telephone service. (Telephone Transfer Act 1911)
Conservatives (Gascoyne-Cecil)
General Post Office took over the National Telephone Company Ltd's trunk telephone services. Telegraph Act 1892, Telegraph Act 1896
Liberals (Gladstone)
National Telephone Company Ltd was formed as a subsidiary of the United Telephone Company Ltd to develop and operate telephone services in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Ulster and parts of Scotland, taking over UTC operations in those places. Between 1889-1893, an amalgamation policy was pursued, with the NTC absorbing the Northern District Telephone Company; the South of England Telephone Company; the Western Counties and South Wales Company; the Sheffield Telephone Exchange and Electric Light Company; and the Telephone Company of Ireland Ltd, as well as various smaller telephone companies. National Telephone CompanyWikipedia-W.svg
Liberals (Gladstone)
The Post Master General obtained a court judgement that telephone conversations were, technically, within the remit of the Telegraph Act.[29] The General Post Office then licensed all existing telephone networks.
Conservatives (Disraeli)
Telephone: The Post Office commenced its telephone business, although most telephones were connected to privately run networks.
Liberals (Gladstone)
Telegraph: Several private telegraph companies were established in the mid 19th century. The Telegraph Act 1868 granted the Postmaster-General the right to acquire inland telegraph companies, and the Telegraph Act 1869 conferred a monopoly in telegraphic communication in the UK.
Liberals (Palmerston)
Post Office Savings Bank was set up by the Palmerston govt, the world's first postal savings system. The scheme was a simple one, aimed at encouraging ordinary people to provide for themselves against adversity and ill health.[30] General Post Office § Banking servicesWikipedia-W.svg, (Post Office Savings Bank Act 1861)
Conservatives (Smith-Stanley)
Post Boxes: the first pillar box was used in Jersey, with more being erected in mainland Britain the folliwng year.[31] In 1919, air mail came about, and the London Post Office Railway officially opened in 1927.
Jan.1840 Uniform Penny Post was introduced, providing a single minimum fee of one penny to deliver mail anywhere in the country, which was prepaid by the sender. Postage rates were now based on weight, regardless of distance.
Whigs (Lamb)
The Post Office Money Order system introduced.
Tories (Pitt the Younger)
Coach Delivery: John Palmer, a proprietor of the Bath theater, devised a plan to speed up mail delivery and make it more reliable by conveying the mail by coaches in the same way that packages were delivered. The first mail coach ran between Bristol and London.
Whigs (Stanhope)
The Postmaster of Bath, one Ralph Allen, developed and expanded the postal network of the country.
1710 Master of the Posts was renamed to "Postmaster General".


General Post Office was established in England by Charles II on his restoration. The postal service was known as the Royal Mail because it was built on the distribution system for royal and govt documents. The GPO eventually grew to combine the functions of state postal system and telecommunications carrier. Similar General Post Offices were established across the British Empire. An Act for Erecting and Establishing a Post Office, 1660
1657 Fixed Rates were established for the delivery of letters. (Postage Act 1657).
1654 Office of Postage: Oliver Cromwell granted a monopoly over the mail delivery service in England, franchising it to the highest bidder.
Jul.1635 King Charles I made his postal service available to the public, with postage being paid by receiver. The service was run by various individuals, who used their monopoly to make a great deal of money.
1603 King James I established a postal service between London and Edinburgh to help retain control over the Scottish Privy Council.
1516 Master of the Posts role was established by Henry VII.
Additional Sources: Royal Mail History. The Social Historian. Accessed Jun.30.2020. ♦ The Royal Mail: a history of the British postal service. Heidi Blake, The Telegraph, Jun.10.2010. Original archived on Jun.13.2010.Key dates in Post Office history. Consignia plc, Nov.2002. Original archived on Mar.31.2004.


  • Oct.16.2018: Shareholder pay revolt 'embarrassed' Royal Mail bosses, MPs hear. Select committee critical of decision to pay £5.8m ‘golden hello’ to new chief executive. Nearly 75% of investors refused to support the company’s remuneration policy in one of the biggest pay revolts in UK corporate history at Royal Mail’s annual meeting in July. Orna Ni-Chionna, the head of Royal Mail’s pay committee, confirmed the payout to Rico Back was not subject to tax in the UK. Ni-Chionna, who is also deputy chair of the National Trust, said the company had learned lessons. Angela Monaghan, The Guardian.
  • Aug.14.2018: Royal Mail fined record £50m for breaking competition law. OfCom finds company abused its dominant position in bulk mail delivery. Ofcom said the company had abused its dominant position by penalising wholesale customers that sought to deliver bulk mail such as bank statements and council tax demands door to door. The penalty followed an investigation into a complaint by Whistl about changesRoyal Mail made to wholesale customer contracts in early 2014, including price increases. Julia Kollewe, The Guardian.
  • Jul.19.2018: Investor revolt over Royal Mail boss's pay deal is biggest for years. Royal Mail investors have staged one of the biggest pay revolts in UK corporate history, with nearly three-quarters refusing to support the remuneration package handed to its new chief executive. The postal service handed Rico Back an annual deal worth up to £2.7m if he hits bonus targets, on top of a £6m “golden hello” for leaving the company’s European subsidiary. Trade union bosses labelled the payouts unbelievable, warning that postal workers would be angry at seeing such lavish awards handed out just months after they accepted changes in their pensions to help the company save money. The revolt is thought to be the largest at a UK public company in at least a decade, outstripping the 64% who failed to back a £75m payout for housebuilder Persimmon’s chief executive in April, and the 60% who rejected former WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell’s £7m deal in 2012. links The shareholder vote is merely advisory and the company is under no obligation to change its pay arrangements. ISS and Glass Lewis, groups that advise City investors on how to cast their votes, had both urged shareholders to oppose the deal because of the increase in Back’s basic pay. ISS had also raised a red flag over departure payouts for Greene, which include a full-year cash bonus of £774,000 and 12 months’ salary, worth £547,500, after she leaves in Sept. Royal Mail’s chairman, Peter Long, who also chairs Countrywide plc and is vice-chairman of travel group Tui, defended Back’s pay package, pointing to his record as boss of GLS. “GLS has truly been a great success story for us,” he said. “We bought it when we were the Post Office back in 1999. That is also when our new CEO, Rico Back, came on board. Since then, under Rico’s dynamic and astute leadership, GLS has grown and grown.” Earlier this week, Royal Mail reported a 7% fall in letter revenues in the most recent three months, while UK parcel revenues rose 6%. Overall revenues in the UK division were down 1%, while overall group underlying revenues were up 2% thanks to an 11% surge in turnover at GLS, run by Back. Rob Davies, The Guardian.
  • Apr.20.2018: Moya Greene to step down as Royal Mail’s chief executive. Moya Greene will retire as chief executive later this year after an 8-year tenure that included the controversial privatisation of Britain’s postal service in 2013. She will be replaced in June by Rico Back, a Swiss-domiciled German who runs the group’s European subsidiary General Logistics Systems (GLS). The group’s chairman, Peter Long, said: “When Moya joined in the summer of 2010, the company was balance sheet insolvent. Since then, Royal Mail has been transformed, including our privatisation in 2013 and two significant, groundbreaking agreements with the CWU Communications Workers Union. She will be replaced in June by Rico Back, a Swiss-domiciled German who runs the group’s European subsidiary General Logistics Systems (GLS). Back has been a senior executive in the group for 18 years. He was a founding member of German Parcel in 1989, which was bought by Royal Mail in 1999 and later rebranded as GLS. Royal Mail said Back would receive the same total £790,000 pay and benefits as Greene, with a possible £1.3m bonus, and would pay UK tax. The company also announced the appointment of Sue Whalley as chief executive of post and parcels at Royal Mail UK, with responsibility for most British revenue and operations. Gwyn Topham, The Guardian.
  • Apr.13.2018: Royal Mail union warns of industrial action over pension scheme closure. Union says staff face losing up to a third of their future pensions, but company insists defined-benefit plan is unaffordable. Julia Kollewe, The Guardian.
    • Jul.2017: In July 2017, the Group made a payment of €6.6 million to Mr Rico Back as consideration for the termination of his contract of employment (and all rights and obligations contained within it) with GLS and its replacement with a new GLS contract. ref, p.144
  • Dec.18.2014: Royal Mail sell-off undervalued firm by £180m, report finds. Review concludes that company could have been sold for up to 30p more a share, but it involved considerable risk. The govt could have made £180m more from the £2bn sale of Royal Mail last year but this would have involved “considerable risk”, a report commissioned by business secretary Vince Cable concluded. The report by former city minister Lord Myners said the sell-off, which attracted huge controversy, was executed with “considerable professionalism” and the government and taxpayer achieved “significant value”. Labour said the review had a “very narrow remit” and did not take Royal Mail’s property assets into account. MPs on the Business, Innovation and Skills committee argued that taxpayers lost out on up to £1bn because shares could been priced higher when the controversial privatisation of the 500-year-old institution went ahead, but Myners rejected this. The government sold 60% of Royal Mail for 330p a share in October 2013... Julia Kollewe, Frances Perraudin, The Guardian.
  • Jan.25.2001: The end of the affair. Few tears were shed in Fleet Street over Peter Mandelson's departure. James Hardy: "Peter fought tooth and nail for his job, but Mr Blair was adamant he should resign". Commentator Andrew Rawnsley said the PM's nerve was steadied by the "ruthless" Alastair Campbell who "sharpened the blade and guided the PM's hand to bring it down on their old friend's neck". BBC News.



  1. ^ a b Shareholder pay revolt 'embarrassed' Royal Mail bosses, MPs hear. Angela Monaghan, The Guardian, Oct.16.2018.
  2. ^ Royal Mail to cut 2,000 management roles. Kalyeena Makortoff, The Guardian, Jun.25.2020.
  3. ^ Wind Point Partners Announces Sale of Dicom Canada to General Logistics Systems (GLS), a Division Of Royal Mail. Press Release, Wind Point Partners LP, Sept.04.2018.
  4. ^ Royal Mail buys into Canada with $276 million courier deal. via Reuters, CNBC, Sept.03.2018.
  5. ^ GLS acquires Postal Express in the US. Financial Times, Apr.06.2017.
  6. ^ Halifax Announces Sale of Golden State Overnight. The Halifax Group, Oct.04.2016. Original archived
  7. ^ Royal Mail plc: GLS acquires Golden State Overnight. FE Investegate, Oct.04.2016.
  8. ^ Royal Mail sell-off 'on the cheap'. BBC News, Jul.10.2013.
  9. ^ Royal Mail sell-off undervalued firm by £180m, report finds. Julia Kollewe, Frances Perraudin, The Guardian, Dec.18.2014.
  10. ^ Priority Investors made at least £98m selling Royal Mail shares in its first six days of trading. Tom Warren, Nick Mathiason, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, May.21.2014.
  11. ^ Destroying Royal Mail: the politics and economics of privatisation. Pete Thompson, Red Flag, Oct.28.2019.
  12. ^ Royal Mail sell-off plan on hold, says Mandelson. Nick Mathiason, The Guardian, Jun.29.2009.
  13. ^ Will Royal Mail be broken up and sell GLS?. Chris Dawson, Tamebay, Jun.26.2020.
  14. ^ PostWatch: Home. PostWatch. Original archived on Apr.07.2008.
  15. ^ Humbled Consignia reinvented as Royal Mail plc. Michael Harrison, The Independent, May.23.2002.
  16. ^ Story of NS&I. National Savings and Investments. Original archived on Oct.17.2013.
  17. ^ UK Post Office name change. BBC News, Jan.09.2001.
  18. ^ Consignia signs on at the local post office. The Telegraph, May.29.2001.
  19. ^ PostWatch warns of turbulent times ahead for UK Postal Industry. Post & Parcel, Sept.25.2008.
  20. ^ Historie: 2000. German Parcel Paket-Logistik GmbH & Co. OHG, Feb.28.2001. Original archived
  21. ^ About NS&I: The Story of NS&I. National Savings and Investments. Original archived on Aug.22.2013.
  22. ^ Sell Off the Royal Mail? Is Nothing Sacred? Richard W Stevenson, New York Times, May.20.1994. Original archived
  23. ^ a b Key dates in Post Office history. Consignia plc, Nov.2002. Original archived on Mar.31.2004.
  24. ^ Girobank disappars in A&L makeover. Andrew Cave, The Telegraph, Jul.07.2003. Original archived on Jan.25.2011.
  25. ^ Postcodes. Consignia plc, Noc.2002. Original archived on Mar.31.2004.
  26. ^ The historical development of BT. BT plc. Original archived on May.27.2010.
  27. ^ Department Code NSC. Records created or inherited by the National Savings Committee, the Post Office Savings Department and the Department for National Savings. The National Archives. Accessed Jul.02.2020.
  28. ^ The National Giro. The National Archives. Accessed Jan.27.2020.
  29. ^ Evolution of British Post Office Telephones. HJC Spencer, R Freshwater, Bob's Telephone File, Nov.22.2007. Original archived on Sept.24.2010.
  30. ^ About NS&I: The Story of NS&I. National Savings and Investments. Original archived on Aug.22.2013.
  31. ^ Green Post Boxes. Julian Stray, The Postal Museum, Feb.21.2017.