Applications have opened for two serving Postmasters to join the Board of Post Office as Non-Executive Directors for the first time in its history.
The move is part of the PO’s re-set of its relationship with Postmasters, as it tries to put the Horizon IT scandal firmly behind it.
Key to the success of these appointments is the governance put in place to ensure a transparent and independent selection process. An independent committee comprising leading industry figures –James Lowman, CEO, Association of Convenience Stores; Shirine Khoury-Haq, CFO at the Co-op Group; and Jean Church MBE, Council Member at the Institute of Directors – has been appointed.
All will contribute a wealth of convenience retailing, financial and independent executive level experience. The voting process will be overseen by Civica Elections services (formerly Electoral Reform Services), and Green Park consultants, specialists in board appointments, who will advise on best practice across the process.
Applications will be open for four weeks and require interested serving Postmasters to submit a CV and a short personal statement. Postmasters will need to have a minimum three years’ experience to apply. They will also need to demonstrate evidence of strong customer service and operational conformance.
The applications will be scrutinised by independent recruitment specialists, Green Park, and a selection then put forward for interview by the Independent Panel. A shortlist of candidates will then be put to a vote of Postmasters in March 2021. The election will be overseen by Civica Elections Services. Ahead of the election there will be the opportunity for postmasters [and multiple partners] to learn more about the shortlisted candidates, with an option to vote online or request a postal ballot. The Post Office will announce further details over the coming weeks.
The two candidates with the most votes will then be recommended to the Board and to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for final approval.
Induction and training
In keeping with the responsibilities Non-Executive Directors have in any business, the role requires balancing the interests of all customers and stakeholders (Postmasters), the business (Post Office Ltd) and the shareholders (UK Government) in promoting the interests of the company as a whole. The Postmasters appointed to the role will receive an extensive induction and training programme, covering the corporate and legal aspects of fulfilling the duties of a Non-Executive Director.
The successful Postmaster NEDs will join the Board in April 2021, at the start of the new financial year for Post Office.
Nick Read, Chief Executive of the Post Office, said: “Having two serving Postmasters on our Board sends the clearest signal yet of our determination to ensure Postmasters really are at the heart of our business, and this election is another vital milestone in resetting our relationship with Postmasters. The transparent and independent selection process, led by external industry experts, will ensure the Board is able to benefit from the counsel and input of the most suitable candidates.
“To sit on the Board of any company carries great responsibility, a responsibility I know our Postmasters will be well placed to fulfil. I have been encouraged by the interest from Postmasters in applying and look forward to working with our two new Non-Executive Directors in March.”