Keith Williams to succeed Les Owen as Royal Mail chairman in May 2019

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Royal Mail has announced that Keith Williams, currently deputy chairman, will succeed Les Owen as chairman with effect from May 22, 2019, following the announcement of Royal Mail’s Full Year 2018-19 Results.

Williams was appointed to the Royal Mail plc board on January 1, 2018. He was appointed chair of the Audit and Risk Committee in July 2018, and deputy chairman in November 2018. Williams is a highly regarded British business leader, who worked in the UK and internationally before joining British Airways Plc in 1998, where he worked for 18 years, including five years as CFO, three years as CEO and two years as executive chairman. Aviva plc announced on March 22 that Williams will be stepping down as a non-executive director and chair of its Audit Committee immediately following the conclusion of the company’s AGM on May 23, 2019.

Orna Ni-Chionna, senior independent director, Royal Mail plc, who led the recruitment search process, said, “Our external search has confirmed that Keith Williams is the right person to chair the Royal Mail Group through a significant period of change. The company will benefit from his strong leadership skills, and his industrial relations, operational and strategic expertise.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Les for his dedication and commitment to Royal Mail. As chairman since September, he has provided strong leadership and steady support to the board as we have sought to address a number of very significant challenges. We are grateful to him for stepping up into the chairman’s role as we sought to find a long-term appointee.”

Williams commented, “I am delighted to accept this role. Royal Mail has many strengths, including great brands and great people, which form a platform for future success. The fast-moving delivery market means that we need to keep changing, and at greater pace. I look forward to working with Rico Back, our Group CEO, and the senior management team as we address the significant challenges facing our business.”

Les Owen, chairman, Royal Mail plc, said, “As we previously communicated, my tenure as chairman was planned to be for a limited period only. I am delighted with the announcement that Keith will succeed me in May. Over the next two months, we will work closely together to ensure that our management team are fully supported as they address the challenges we face in the UK letters and parcels business. Keith is well known to our management, provides continuity, and has in his time on the board developed a deep understanding of our business and its priorities.

“We are planning to further strengthen the board in the coming months through the appointment of a number of additional non-executive directors.”

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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