Rico Back quits Royal Mail

Royal Mail CEO Rico Back has suddenly resigned with immediate effect after less than two years in post.

The postal operator and Back himself have declined to comment on the reasons for departure. Back has been at the helm of the company during a major restructure that led to clashes with the unions.

There has been a £22 million decline in Royal Mail UK revenues in April, largely brought about by the pandemic economic crisis. Letter volumes alone fell by over 30% in the period. Parcel volumes have however increased by 31%.

Back said: “It has been a privilege to lead a company that is so much a part of UK life at this crucial time in its history. I am proud of what I, together with our dedicated and loyal team, helped to build.

“I look forward to seeing Royal Mail transform into a parcels-led international delivery company that continues to touch the lives of millions across the world.”

Under the terms of his departure from the post, Back is on garden leave until 15 August and is to receive full salary and benefits until then. After that he is to receive a total of £480,000 in lieu of working the standard notice period.

While Back was at the helm, Royal Mail’s share price fell to the lowest level since the government privatised it in 2013.

The clashes with unions have escalated during the pandemic. Last month the Communications Workers Union told its members that they should stay away from work if their office didn’t provide them with adequate personal protective equipment. The CWU estimated that up to half Royal Mail’s sorting offices lacked such equipment.

Tensions with the unions escalated when news broke that Back was working from home in Switzerland.