World Stamps

Airport executive named CEO of Royal Mail starting May 1

Apr 23, 2024, 11 AM
Emma Gilthorpe will assume the role of Royal Mail CEO starting May 1. Gilthorpe currently serves as the chief operating officer for Heathrow Airport, a role she began in March 2020.

By David Hartwig

International Distributions Services, the parent company of Royal Mail, announced April 2 the appointment of Emma Gilthorpe as chief executive officer of Royal Mail Group.

Gilthorpe currently serves as the chief operating officer for Heathrow Airport, a role she began in March 2020 just as the COVID-19 pandemic began causing major travel disruptions worldwide.

During Gilthorpe’s tenure the company rebounded, and Reuters reported Feb. 21, 2024, that Heathrow Airport recorded a profit in 2023 for the first time since the pandemic.

Thomas Woldbye, CEO of Heathrow Airport, said: “Emma Gilthorpe’s impact on Heathrow is profound.”

Gilthorpe will start with Royal Mail May 1 and work closely with International Distributions Services CEO Martin Seidenberg, who assumed the role as interim CEO for Royal Mail in August 2023. Gilthorp will take over responsibility for Royal Mail in the summer, the press release said.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Emma as CEO of Royal Mail Group,” Seidenberg said. “Emma has an impressive track record of delivering major strategic change programmes whilst driving up performance. She will bring a customer and employee-centric approach to delivering Royal Mail’s transformation for the benefit of all our stakeholders, and I look forward to working closely with her to ensure Royal Mail reaches its true potential.”

When International Distributions Services announced Seidenberg’s appointment in July 2023, the company said Seidenberg would be finding a CEO for Royal Mail “in due course.”

This followed the May 2023 announcement that Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson would leave in October 2023.

According to an April 2, 2024, article in The Telegraph, Thompson stepped down “after facing disruptive strike action led by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) over pay and working conditions.”

Gilthorpe is no stranger to labor disputes. In 2023 she faced internal backlash over plans to outsource security roles at the airport.

According to the aforementioned article, union bosses at the airport are considering walkouts later this year in response to the plans, although Gilthorpe says the airport is prepared to avoid disruption from strike action.

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