Post & Parcel speaks to Matteo Del Fante, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Poste Italiane on celebrating the company’s 160 year’s anniversary and how it has evolved.
What is Poste Italiane doing to celebrate its 160th year anniversary?
Poste Italiane marked 160 years of life spent serving Italy, contributing to the socio-economic development and modernisation of the country, from its foundation until today. That was a special birthday, which Poste Italiane celebrated with the first event of a series, under the title “Our history in the future of the country”. The event took place in Rome and was attended by the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, by the Deputy Presidents of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies, by Ministers and representatives of the Government, by Parliamentarians and representatives of the central and local institutions of the State, and by civil, military and religious authorities, and exponents of the economy and culture. We thanked all the men and women of Poste Italiane for their commitment and professionalism.
What is your vision for Poste Italiane in 2022?
Poste Italiane’s model is based on a strong integration of physical and remote accessibility to the provided services, with 94% of Italians living within 5 minutes from a Post Office or a PuntoPoste touchpoint. Fully integrating our channels allows us to effectively manage our clients, from engagement to sales, through a data-driven service model, which is supported by tech-intensive processes and customer operations. This model also contributes to the country’s digitalization inherently reducing digital divide. Through our omnichannel interaction platform we manage 20 million daily interactions with clients, 6.7 million of which are from digital channels. We live in fact in an increasingly inter-connected environment, with a huge amount of physical and digital touchpoints, that are rapidly evolving towards instant and real-time interactions. Poste Italiane is ready to become the largest omnichannel platform in Italy providing access to services and products.
What are the main strengths of Poste Italiane?
Our key to success is business diversification and transformation.
Five years ago, the company was overexposed to declining markets, like mail and payments slips, which accounted for over 30% of revenues, while growing markets were under-represented. Our strategic efforts, which were deployed over the last five years, allowed us to overturn the scenario. Expanding markets are now providing 34% of our revenues and declining markets only 23%.
What challenges does Poste Italiane face?
In 2017 we started our transformation journey building on our historical competitive advantages with a clear strategy of growth and transformation. Our main challenge is defined by our ability to build on our reputation as perceived by our community, our shareholders, and our people. Today, Poste Italiane has consolidated its role of strategic pillar for the country. For example, we are here for our communities, delivering some 30 million Covid-19 vaccine-doses and enabling the vaccine-booking platform for a third of Italians. We are here to support the country’s digitalization through our 22 million digital identities, which enable citizens to access a growing number of services leveraging our state-of-the-art IT and digital properties.
What’s the company’s strategy to keep the business profitable over the next five years?
You can call Poste Italiane an anti-fragile market player. When we faced the pandemic two years ago, we managed not only to withstand the shock but actually to improve our business by harnessing evolving market trends and refocusing our attention to the areas of growth. Even in today’s geopolitical turmoil, our business structure allows us to continue our work along our strategic directions. For example, in the Payments sector, cash payments are still largely dominating in Italy, leaving us with untapped opportunities. We have always mentioned that our customer asset allocation is biased towards capital guaranteed products. During this crisis it comes as an advantage because they are less affected by market turbulence, with 93% of our customer’s TFAs that are not exposed to market volatility.
But we are doing more: entering new retail business to bundle gas and electricity with our internet plan, growing our B2B logistics services, setting the conditions for a further expansion in the healthcare sector, also leveraging a recent acquisition.
How did Poste Italiane manage to serve citizens during the pandemic?
The pandemic has been a tough experience from which we have learnt to adapt to changing conditions while preserving the continuity of our businesses, leveraging our resilience and flexibility. Nevertheless, we maintained the key promises we made to our stakeholders. We have a proven track-record of taking advantage of favourable market trends and pursuing both organic and inorganic growth opportunities.
How have Poste Italiane’s customers’ needs changed over the years?
The three traditional pillars of Poste’s product offer were mail, payment slips and postal savings. Two out of three being in structural decline due to innovations, we pivoted our response on innovation itself by investing heavily on technology and logistics, with a good intuition of using the widespread mail network to deliver mail and parcels jointly, and so surfing the e-commerce wave. Our investments in technology allowed us to improve customer experience and accelerate product development; they were also enabler of our decision to enter new businesses to satisfy arising customers’ needs. These development initiatives have been by far more important than efficiencies in granting a sustainable convenience to our customers.
2021 results have once again proved Poste Italiane’s ability to deliver its promises while sailing through difficult times, ensuring value for employees, customers and shareholders. Our plan implementation is running ahead of schedule, while our multichannel approach and the new incremental opportunities seized over the past few months will further reinforce our sustainable value creation. Our investors will be rewarded with a generous and visible dividend policy, whilst our commitment to keeping it competitive over time is confirmed.
Poste Italiane has committed to Net zero by 2030; how onboard are Italians with this vision?
We have defined a clear and ambitious roadmap towards a 30% reduction in total CO2 emissions by 2025 and carbon neutrality by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement, the recent 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact, and the European Green Deal. As part of our journey towards carbon neutrality, we are progressing on structural initiatives to achieve the ambitious targets we have set, and our new energy offer will further accelerate such a transition. PostePay will become the energy supplier for the entire Group, sourcing 100% of power from renewables, contributing to our decarbonization strategy. Across all our businesses, we are implementing strategic and structural changes to achieve the targets we have set. We continued reducing emissions by renewing our company fleet – reaching 10 thousand low-emissions delivery vehicles – the ones used by our “postini”.
We believe that we are meeting our stakeholders – especially the young generations – expectations and, even if not, Poste is in the institutional position to lead the way.
What’s the best piece of business advice you have ever had?
You always have to love what you do and have passion in your business.
About Matteo Del Fante
Born in Florence Matteo Del Fante has a degree in Political Economy from the “Luigi Bocconi” University in Milan and attended courses specialising in international financial markets at the Stern Business School, New York University.
He started his career in the Research Department of JP Morgan in 1991 and he became Managing Director in 1999. He was with JP Morgan until 2003. In 2004, he joined Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA (CDP) as Head of Finance and M&A.
At CDP, he tookg on the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Group’s asset management company (CDP Investimenti SGR SpA) in 2009, later becoming Chairman until August 2014.
From June 2010 to May 2014, he was General Manager of CDP. In May 2014, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Terna SpA.
From July 2017 to May 2020, he was Chief Executive Officer of Postevita. Since September 2021 he has been Vice President of ASSONIME. He has been CEO and General Manager of Poste Italiane since April 2017.