Yodel loses top execs as chairman admits quality issues

As one of his first actions as executive chairman, Dick Stead wrote to key clients to reveal that chief executive Jonathan Smith will leave the company at the end of the year, along with commercial director Adam Smith and chief information officer Greg Smith.

Instead, a “smaller, more focussed” executive team will be lead by Stead himself.

Stead said that Smith had “decided that completion of this phase in Yodel’s journey is the right time to move on”, and that the outgoing CEO will work with him in the transitionary stage until the end of the year, to oversee operations through the peak season.

The re-shaped executive team of four directors will be reporting direct to the chairman by the end of October.

This team of four includes chief operating officer Marija Simovic, chief finance officer Mark Strickland and human resources director Richard Wells, as well as a newly-created chief commercial officer position to be undertaken on a temporary basis by Peter Fisher, to lead on sales, marketing, customer experience and customer contact.

Stead, who resigned as Parcelforce Worldwide managing director earlier this summer to take the Yodel chairmanship, insisted that he was “very confident” that his new leadership team would build on the “huge amount” of work already done to transform Yodel over the past year.

He told clients: “We want to continue working with you, to ensure our service proposition meets your ongoing requirements and that we provide you and your customers with the best possible service.”

Yodel CEO Jonathan Smith has decided it is time to move on, but will remain with the company through the peak season

A spokesperson for Yodel told Post&Parcel this afternoon that Smith had decided it was the “right time” for him to leave the company.

The spokesman confirmed: “Yodel has been transformed over the last 18 months and is now in a sound position with strength across senior management. Dick Stead has recently taken up the role as Executive Chairman and will lead the business. Jonathan Smith has decided to move on but will stay through peak, working alongside Dick. The search for a new CEO, as well as a CCO, has started.”


Yodel is known to have lost a number of key home delivery contracts over the past year, with discontent among customers expressed regarding the company’s performance, particularly around Christmas 2011.

The company owned by the Barclay Brothers, which claims to have about 25% of the UK parcel delivery market, has had a difficult time since acquiring the domestic UK operations of DHL Express in 2010, particularly in integrating the two networks.

This spring, the firm launched a campaign to turnaround the quality of its service, but as its now outgoing CEO told Post&Parcel, the new direction included efforts to persuade customers to pay more for their existing delivery services.

In today’s letter, Stead conceded to clients that Yodel’s quality of service had been “more variable than we all would have liked”.

But he insisted the company’s focus was now on the forthcoming peak season.

“Our current short term objectives are to ensure our IT platform is completely stable, that we have a

successful and smooth running Christmas period, and provide you and your customers with the highest quality of service at all times,” said Stead.

About The Author

Ian Taylor

Ian Taylor is the Editor of Triangle’s Mail & Express Review Magazine and the www.postandparcel.info portal. Ian has been a business journalist for almost 30 years, editing and writing for a wide range of magazines and newspapers with a particular focus on the transport and logistics industries.

1 Comment

  1. steve wells

    Good luck making money in the residential space. I have no doubt Smith was right trying to get better rates however it needed to coincide with improved service levels.

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