Post Office has announced that Group Chief Executive Paula Vennells CBE is to step down to take up the role of Chair of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Vennells joined the Post Office in 2007 and became its chief executive on separation from Royal Mail in 2012.
She has led a dramatic turnaround of the business. Losses of £120m in 2012/13 have been transformed to £35m profit in 2017/18, with a target of £50m this year. 7,500 branches have been modernised with longer opening hours, and the network of Post Office branches is at its most stable for 25 years.
The organisation has developed Post Office Money and Identity, Digital and Insurance businesses, recently acquiring the Payzone payments business. Significantly, in the last 3 years, the Post Office has created “Everyday Banking”, offering consumers and businesses access to their usual UK high street bank accounts, available at all 11,500 post office branches.
Post Office chairman Tim Parker said: “Paula has served the Post Office with great distinction: under her leadership the business has been transformed from an organisation making substantial losses into one that is now fully profitable and on an upwards trajectory. Most importantly, this has been achieved alongside improved services for our customers. Paula has led a fundamental modernisation of our branch network, the creation of Post Office Money, the development of “Everyday Banking” so customers and businesses can access their usual bank accounts in every Post Office and of our identity, digital and insurance businesses and many other important initiatives.
“In the course of radically improving the business, Paula has ensured that the Post Office values of care, challenge and commitment are deeply embedded in the business and we have remained true to our underlying mission as a commercial business with a social purpose. I would also like to say on a personal note, that Paula’s decisiveness, approachability and calm disposition have made her an excellent CEO to work with, and have won her many friends right across the business.”
Vennells, who was honoured with a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List, has also been appointed as a Non-Executive member of the Cabinet Office Board. She will join Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in April, and the process of identifying her successor at Post Office Ltd has begun.
She said: “I shall miss the Post Office – especially the colleagues in our branches who give so much to serve our customers. I am passionate about the business, its customers and its people. It has been a privilege to lead an organisation so deeply embedded in the everyday life of the UK.
“At the same time I am excited about moving into the NHS, and my new challenges at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Cabinet Office, roles I will combine with my Board role at Morrisons and others in the future. In the meantime I will enjoy my final few weeks at the Post Office – we have achieved so much but there is still more to do!”