City Link completes board line-up

UK express parcel carrier City Link has now completed the recruitment of its Board to drive the business forward and build on Managing Director David Smith’s mantra that “customers must come first”. Recently-appointed Operations Director Adele Henderson, Sales & Marketing Director Tim Brown and Customer Care Director Jane Desmond join existing board members, Finance Director Rob Peto, HR Director Scott Maynard, IT Director Tony Frost and Programme Director James Coxon.

Mr. Smith believes that City Link can grow to become a £500 million business within the next three years and has started by restructuring day-to-day operations to improve the end to end quality of service for customers.

The business is stabilizing and the prospects are looking good with a number of new contract wins in the first half of the year. Furthermore City Link is expecting a rise in the numbers of B2C customers with the boom in internet shopping.

However if Mr. Smith’s vision is to be achieved the foundations need to be robust and in the short to medium term this will be the focus of the new board.

“Right time first”

Operations Director Adele Henderson is tasked with embedding the ‘Right First Time’ ethos espoused by Mr. Smith and is introducing robust processes and performance management into the day-to-day operations.

Adele has amassed a wealth of experience during two decades at the Royal Mail Group and her impressive credentials include being part of the management team that trebled profits at Parcelforce Worldwide in just four years.

An accountant by training, she joined City Link in May from Parcelforce Worldwide where she was Operations Director.

Adele said: “I am delighted to be joining City Link at such an exciting time of its development and look forward to successfully driving the business forward and further improving operational efficiency.

“I am a great believer that a quality organisation doesn’t have to have huge operating costs. A quality organisation gets things right first time.”

Sales & Marketing Director Tim Brown has seen all sides of the industry, having been Sales & Marketing Director at Parcelforce Worldwide during its successful restructure, then at DHL during a major re-organisation before becoming Chief Executive of postal regulator PostComm. Also an accountant by training, he believes there is a lot more work to be done.

He said: “City Link has improved dramatically but there are big challenges ahead. I have found the people in City Link committed and motivated to delivering great service. They have been working tirelessly throughout long periods of change to do their best for the business.

“I would like to see City Link become a flexible, entrepreneurial, highly-profitable carrier, one that customers will find easy to work with, one that you can rely on to get a job done.”


The latest permanent addition to the board is Jane Desmond, who was recently confirmed as City Link’s Customer Care Director. She spent more than 24 years in Granada TV rentals’ logistics operation, before becoming Managing Director of Protocol Training’s skills division, and then Operational MD of bus and train operator First Group’s Edinburgh division.

She joined City Link in 2010 as a Regional Director. She subsequently became Network Director for London/South East before being promoted to Interim Customer Care Director in February.

Jane said: “The things we are doing are starting to have an effect, there is no doubt about it. The business was very internally focused, but now it is focused on the customer and that has to come from the leadership of the business.”

Among the initiatives already underway is customer service training for drivers, who are often the only representative of a brand that the end consumer ever gets to meet, and NVQ level apprenticeships for both drivers and customer care staff.

Investments in IT such as hand-held devices for drivers, VanCam CCTV cameras in delivery vans, and GPS tracking are being used to help customers see where their parcels are; and all calls to the customer care centre are now centrally logged so customers can keep track of their complaints and queries and insist on a case being re-opened if the answer is unsatisfactory.

David Smith commented: “The new board is a powerful force with a skill set that will not only play an integral part in taking this business forward but spearhead a culture change which empowers the customer – a revolutionary vision, but one that is vital if the parcels market and City Link is to meet the ever increasing demands of the customer.”

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