Royal Mail faces criticism for £6M deal for CEO who’ll keep running business from Switzerland


Royal Mail is facing mounting anger over its decision to hand its new chief executive nearly £6million and allow him to run the business while living in Switzerland.

German executive Rico Back, 64, took over at the company in June after previous boss Dame Moya Greene stepped aside.

But critics have questioned why he received almost £6million to buy him out of an old contract he had in his previous job running Royal Mail’s European parcel business GLS.

On top of this, he could get £2.7million a year in his new role, including salary and benefits. The father of four plans to remain living in Zurich in Switzerland with his family.

Details of his £5.8million payment were only declared when the company published its annual report in May

The huge payouts for the new boss come despite the average worker at Royal Mail, which was privatised in 2015, earning only £28,274. The company employs around 141,000 people in the UK.

Meanwhile, the price of a first-class stamp has increased from 41p in 2010 to 67p today.

Shareholders are expected to revolt against Mr Back’s pay at Royal Mail’s annual general meeting in London today.

Mr Back’s pay and bonus were revealed when he was appointed Royal Mail chief executive in April.

However, details of his £5.8million payment were only declared when the company published its annual report in May – and buried on page 144.

Labour MP Peter Kyle, a member of the Commons Business and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: ‘It’s a slap in the face to postal workers to hear that their new boss seems to have been given everything he could have dreamed of.

‘We are currently doing an inquiry into executive pay and I have heard stories and seen practices that would make anyone’s toes curl – I hope this is not one of them.

‘Royal Mail needs a full-time chief executive and if someone is being paid more, I want to see value for money, so if his living arrangements turn out to be impacting his ability to do his job at any point, then I for one will be calling him to account.’

Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre campaign group, added: ‘Having to pay such a vast sum to change the contract of your own chief executive is highly unusual behaviour by Royal Mail and shows very generous largesse that it is difficult to imagine being extended to the company’s wider workforce.

‘Cases like this make privatisation look like a self-enrichment scheme for top executives in the eyes of the wider public.’