London (AFP) – Britain’s Royal Mail on Friday said chief executive Moya Greene would retire in September after eight years in the role, during which time she put her stamp on the postal service’s massive privatisation drive.
Under Greene, Royal Mail underwent the biggest privatisation of a state company since former prime minister Margaret Thatcher sold off British Gas and British Telecom to the public in the 1980s.
“When Moya joined in the summer of 2010, the company was balance sheet insolvent,” chairman Peter Long said in a statement announcing her departure.
“Since then, Royal Mail has been transformed, including our privatisation in 2013 and two significant, ground-breaking (union) agreements” over pay and conditions, he said.
Royal Mail said that Rico Back, head of its European subsidiary GLS, would take over from Canadian national Greene, who had previously headed her country’s postal service.
Greene’s departure means even less female chief executives running the 100 companies listed on London’s benchmark FTSE index — with the total falling to five.
The then Conservative-led coalition government insisted privatisation was necessary to give Royal Mail freedom to raise capital, modernise and meet booming demand for online parcel traffic.
The move was aimed also at slashing Britain’s deficit that had ballooned following the 2008 financial crisis.
But the process came under heavy attack, with suggestions that the government sold its stake too cheaply, while thousands of jobs were axed under the shake-up.