Change of Consignia name to Royal Mail could cost GBP 1M

The cost of consigning the Consignia name to history could top Pounds 1m, it emerged yesterday ahead of the announcement of plans to rename itself Royal Mail.

The main cost of the move to call itself Royal Mail is expected to be altering the Consignia signs on all its 3,000 buildings to meet company law requirements.

The Consignia name was adopted when the Post Office Group received plc status in March 2001. But it became one of the most ridiculed corporate rebrandings in recent memory and synonimous with the financial crisis engulfing the company.

Consignia stressed the change to the Royal Mail name, which would take place “in months, not weeks”, would be done at as little cost as possible.

Vans and uniforms are already branded as either Royal Mail or Parcelforce. The company spent Pounds 2m when it became Consignia, of which Pounds 500,000 was the cost of the name change. Stocks of items with the Consignia name on them will be used up, probably by the end of the year, before new ones are ordered with the Royal Mail label.

“We think we can do this in a way that generally places the minimum burden on the company,” Consignia said.

It is likely to lose its website under the rebranding, with the information going to the Royal Mail site.

Critics of the Consignia name welcomed the proposed change. Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union, said: “If a decision is taken to get rid of the ludicrous Consignia title the union will be pleased to see the back of it.”

The rebranding plans will be detailed today by Allan Leighton, chairman, as he announces losses for the year of Pounds 1.1bn and 17,000 job cuts.

John Roberts, chief executive, is expected to outline his future at the company with the government set to begin the search for his successor.

Mr Leighton, the driving force behind dropping the Consignia name, who has combined his role at the company with 10 other directorships, yesterday resigned as a non-executive director of Scottish Power. He currently spends two days a week at Consignia although expectations are growing that he may devote more of his time to the company.

* The CWU could ballot more than 200,000 postal workers on industrial action in protest at plans to outsource support services, including cleaners’ jobs, writes Press Association.

The dispute involves plans to outsource Consignia’s facilities services business Romec, which is responsible for maintenance of the company’s 3,000 buildings.

The plan would save Consignia Pounds 60m a year, but the union fears it could be the start of more privatisation.

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