Royal Mail appoints ex-Heathrow chief executive Emma Gilthorpe as new boss after stamp price hike for third time in a year

Royal Mail has appointed a senior Heathrow executive as its new boss, just as Royal Mail increases the price of stamps for the third time in a year.

Emma Gilthorpe, the airport’s chief operating officer, will join the delivery group on May 1, parent company International Distribution Services (IDS) said.

She will then take over the company’s Royal Mail arm in the summer.

Gilthorpe succeeds interim boss Martin Seidenberg.

He took on the role in addition to his job as CEO of the wider IDS group last October, following the resignation of embattled boss Simon Thompson.

Special delivery: Royal Mail Parent company IDS said Emma Gilthorpe (pictured) will take over as Chief Exec on May 1

Thompson left the group just weeks after resolving a long-running dispute with unions over pay.

He was also under pressure for not meeting delivery targets. Royal Mail made a loss of £319 million in the six months to the end of September 2023.

Gilthorpe’s appointment came as Royal Mail increased the price of its stamps.

The cost of a first class stamp rose by a further 10p yesterday, to £1.35.

Second class stamps also rose 10 cents to 85 cents. The price of a first class stamp has risen three times a year, from 95p to £1.10 in April 2023 and then to £1.25 in October.

It comes at a critical time for Royal Mail as Ofcom considers its future and the ‘universal service obligation’ to deliver letters six days a week.

The industry regulator revealed in a long-awaited report in January that a review could see Royal Mail’s letter delivery service cut from six days to five – or even three – a week.

Ofcom has since held consultations on the proposals, with a deadline for responses today.

She will report her findings in the summer.

Gilthorpe has worked at Europe’s busiest airport since 2009, managing Heathrow’s response to the pandemic.

She said: ‘Royal Mail is a great British brand with a long and proud history. ‘Now is the time to ensure that she too has a successful future.’