Royal Mail chair steps down after shareholder pay revolt

Stepping down: Peter Long
Stepping down: Peter Long

Royal Mail chairman Peter Long is stepping down just months after shareholders revolted over the new CEO’s bumper pay packet.

The group said Mr Long was leaving the company after realising it was “no longer possible” to continue as non-executive chairman of Royal Mail, while also serving as executive chairman of estate agency chain Countrywide.

He will step down immediately and be replaced by Royal Mail board member and former Axa Sun Life boss Les Owen.

“Peter has reviewed his board appointments and concluded it is no longer possible for him to remain executive chairman of Countrywide and non-executive chairman of Royal Mail,” the company said in a market announcement.

Mr Owen joined the board in 2010, becoming a member of its audit and risk committee and remuneration committee, and chairing its pensions committee during a major review of its pensions scheme.

He previously served as CEO of AXA Sun Life and AXA Asia Pacific Holdings.

Mr Long, who has been chairman since September 2015, said: “It is with a heavy heart that I step down from the Royal Mail board.

“Over my three years as chairman, I have taken great pride in what has been achieved by the group.

“It is a company with an incredible heritage. Operating in a challenging environment, it is positioning itself well for diversified growth under the leadership of Rico Back and his executive team.”