Allan Leighton, chairman of the Royal Mail, will step down next March after seven years. The Government has already begun the search for a replacement.
Leighton, who is Royal Mail’s longest serving chairman, is expected to be involved in the search for his successor. Headhunters Zygos Partnership has been appointed the handle the process.
He has overseen a difficult period in the organisation’s history and has led a major modernisation of the company, which has been the cause of some controversy. It has been in a series of disputes over pensions and been heavily criticised for the scope of post office closures.
Leighton, a former chief executive of Asda, already holds a series of non-executive boardroom posts, including at broadcaster BSkyB, although he has cut down the number he holds in recent years. According to reports, he is expected to want one more “big job” and is thought to have already had some offers.
He joined Royal Mail in 2001 following the sale of Asda to US retail giant Wal-Mart for £6.7bn in 1999. He has developed a reputation as a “turnaround specialist”.