With his curly grey mullet Tim Parker may look more like a bichon frise than Beelzebub, but a reputation for cost cutting has earned the new Post Office chairman the nickname ‘The Prince of Darkness’. Parker, who is also chairman of the National Trust and chairman and chief exec of Samsonite, will take over from current chairman Alice Perkins in October.
Parker’s long CV includes stints as chief executive of shoemaker Clarks, where he closed 20 factories and boosted profits, and at the head of roadside assistance firm the AA, where he halved the workforce.
The Post Office, which remains state-owned after being separated from the recently-floated Royal Mail in 2012, is in the middle of a turnaround plan as it seeks to adapt to changes in the market. Parker will be expected to oversee ‘cost reductions’ but his axe will likely be constrained by the Government’s commitment to protect 3,000 rural branches.
‘The government is supporting the Post Office to modernise and become a successful commercial organisation, reducing its reliance on taxpayer subsidy,’ said business minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe. ‘I look forward to working with Tim to continue that transformation.’
Parker has prior experience in public service having served as a deputy to London mayor Boris Johnson. The Government will be hoping that this time he will remain in the position for a while, rather than resigning after just a couple of months.