Frank Appel has taken over as chief executive of Deutsche Post following the resignation of Klaus Zumwinkel in the wake of allegations of tax evasion.
Appel has been a member of the group’s board of management since 2002. He took over as head of the logistics division last year when John Allen moved over to become chief financial officer. Like Zumwinkel, Appel is a former McKinsey consultant. He joined Deutsche Post in 2000 becoming managing director of corporate development.
Jürgen Weber, chairman of the supervisory board of Deutsche Post, made it clear that the decision to appoint Appel had the support of the German government which is still a major shareholder in the business.
“The supervisory board is convinced that the appointment of Dr Appel will ensure that the group is strengthened strategically and that the challenges ahead will be tackled rigorously. The customer focus that he has successfully promoted in the group’s home and international markets will continue to generate additional growth for the company in the future. What this man has achieved for the group can hardly be captured in a few words.
“Dr Appel has proven in the past that he makes quick and successful decisions on complex issues. Dr Appel is a strong team player, open and fair with employees and his fellow management board members, all of whom have promised their full support without any exception,” said Weber.
The supervisory board also agreed to extend the contract of chief financial officer John Allan by two years until the end of 2010. Weber said this ensured continuity for the financial sector and served as a signal to the capital markets.
Zumwinkel is credited with putting together the strategy that has made the German post office one the world’s biggest players in the logistics and express markets. The business has expanded with a series of major acquisitions including Securicor Distribution, Exel Logistics, AEI, Danzas and DHL.
The supervisory board thanked the Zumwinkel for his “achievements in creating the leading logistics company in more than 18 years”.
Weber said: “I cannot and will not judge the events of the past few days, however: You have all seen that the Management Board and the Supervisory Board of the group are strong and capable of acting. A clear and forward-looking decision was reached swiftly. And today I can say: This Management Board will with great intensity address and find solutions for the tasks lying ahead.”
The biggest problem Appel will have to deal with is the US express parcels business. Following an impairment review, in January the group decided on a non-cash write-down on Express Americas fixed assets of around 600 million euros
“The US Express business is a key management priority and we are looking at a variety of options to improve performance. In doing so, we are committed to maintaining a significant presence in the US market, which remains of strategic importance to the Group,” said John Allan.
The group said it still expects the Express division to make consistent progress in underlying profit and to reach an EBIT of between 900 million euros and 1.1 billion euros in 2009.
In addition, Deutsche Post has been wooing the financial markets with its “Roadmap to Value” which includes a series of proposals to improve profits, reduce working capital and boost dividends.
In January it announced that property disposals agreed on since the programme was announced in November would generate more than 350 million euros in cash toward the target of one billion euros in proceeds over two years. It also intends to partner with a third-party service provider for parts of its global IT infrastructure, generating long-term savings of some one billion euros.