The US Postal Service is creating a new Digital Solutions group to create a range of digital products and services.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a memo that the new unit would help USPS adapt to the “evolving needs of our customers”, and would grow into a fully-functional business unit over the next year.
The new unit will be headed up by Paul Vogel, who moves from his position as the USPS president and chief marketing/sales officer to become president of digital solutions.
Nagisa Manabe, a marketing industry veteran most recently vice president of new growth platforms at the Coca-Cola Company, is taking over Vogel’s role as chief marketing/sales officer.
The Postmaster General promised a broad mandate for the new Digital Solutions unit to extend the current USPS platform into the digital arena.
“We are convinced there is growth potential in this dynamic digital environment,” said Donahoe.
“Digital Solutions will begin with a matrixed structure and will grow into a separate business unit over the coming year with the flexibility to explore, pursue, and/or create quickly evolving digital technologies,” added the Postmaster General.
Vogel, who will continue to serve within the USPS executive leadership team, said this time last year that the Postal Service was working on a digital strategy, although its priorities since then have been to promote the physical mail and cut operating costs.
Vogel spoke to Post&Parcel recently to highlight the potential for hybrid mail products at the Postal Service – mail sent electronically before being printed locally to a recipient for last mile delivery as a physical mail piece. This was something he suggested would not necessarily need any postal reform legislation from Congress to develop.
The US Postal Service has seen its First Class Mail volumes drop by around a quarter over the past five years as more and more Americans turn to electronic communications.
Executives have expressed concerns that forging ahead with USPS digital platforms could worsen the decline of mail volumes, which has already seen the Postal Service spiraling into $13bn of debt.
The Postal Service has over the past year been working to completely overhaul its usps.com website, to become more user-friendly as more customers access retail services online. The website currently boasts more than 1m visitors each day.
Meanwhile, the new USPS chief marketing/sales officer will be responsible for all domestic and international product marketing, development and management as well as sales.
Manabe will service on the USPS executive alongside her predecessor, with Donahoe stating that she will “frame a new generation of ideas to promote and grow our organisation”.
Prior to her time at Coca-Cola, Manabe worked for seven years at Diageo in various positions including as vice president of marketing for the beverage giant’s Guinness brand in the US, as vice president of US rums and as vice president of innovation.
A graduate of Yale and Harvard, Manabe began her career at Proctor & Gamble.