The year that was: September – December 2010

It’s time to look back over the last four months of 2010 in the final installment of ‘the year that was’.

A big hello to our wonderful readers! We are here to provide you with a round-up of the biggest news stories that hit the headlines over the last four months of 2010 – it’s part three of ‘the year that was ‘.

It was the news we all knew was coming. September saw the announcement from the UK government that Royal Mail was to be privatised or sold. Business secretary Vince Cable made the admission after receiving updated recommendations from businessman Richard Hooper. The coalition government decided to push ahead with the strategy after Hooper’s latest report highlighted the need for ‘urgent action” – stating that the universal postal service can only be maintained by an injection from the private sector. Cable said: “Royal Mail is facing a combination of potentially lethal challenges – falling mail volumes, low investment, not enough efficiency and a dire pension position. We will come forward with new legislation in the autumn. It will draw heavily on Hooper’s analysis and recommendations and the government’s wider objectives, including the need for employees to have a real stake in the future of the business.” The Communication Workers Union (CWU) condemned the plans and said it will fight the “politically motivated” move by all means. More details of the move were published in October.

In October, USPS postmaster general John Potter announced his retirement after 32 years with the company. Potter, also CEO, stood down on 3 December, to be replaced by deputy postmaster general and COO Patrick Donahoe. Donahoe, who was chosen to succeed Potter by USPS governors, became the 73rd postmaster general. Upon announcing his departure, Potter expressed his gratitude to his staff, announcing that USPS’s accomplishments were down to “thousands of employees who dedicated themselves to meeting customer needs in a rapidly changing technological and communications environment”. He said: “I fully appreciate their support in maintaining the tradition of trust that dates back to Benjamin Franklin and the founding of our nation. It is our people that define our organisation and it is the ir dedication and sense of purpose that drives our business.” Potter’s retirement followed hot on the heels of the US Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) rejecting Postal Service plans to increase the price of sending a letter by 2 cents.

Towards the end of the year, Jean-Paul Forceville was appointed the new chairman of PostEurop. He was appointed following recent elections at the annual plenary assembly held in Liechtenstein. “PostEurop has evolved over the years with an increasing role within the industry across various fields. I believe PostEurop should continue to act on its members behalf and encourage postal development, find synergies, and continue to evolve with guidance from the new board,” said Forceville. The chairman is currently director of external relations, and director of European and International affairs, at Groupe La Poste. Past positions include director general of Sofipost, deputy director of La Poste Strategic Division, and chief of staff to the chairman and CEO of Groupe La Poste. Forceville officially took on the role from January 1, replacing Bernard Damiens. Botond Szebeny, secretary general at PostEurop, was pleased with the appointment. He said: “PostEurop has had the pleasure of having Groupe La Poste involved within the management board. We are confident that under the leadership of Jean-Paul Forceville, PostEurop will continue to develop its place in this industry and towards our stakeholders, in the interest of our members.”

And finally…

Improved security measures were put in place after a number of suspicious packages were found on express planes…In October, the UK government confirmed that it will double Post Office Ltd’s subsidy to £1.3bn…UPS chief Scott Davis said a boost in exports is the catalyst that the US economy needs to rebound…The Department of Posts (DoP) gave the go-ahead to a major modernisation project of India Post.

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