Royal Mail media boss Mark Thomson to lead Olympics effort

Royal Mail has handed media director Mark Thomson the responsibility for ensuring that business and personal mail services avoid major disruption during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Thomson and his team have been tasked with finding ways to maintain service for Royal Mail, Post Office and Parcelforce Worldwide customers at a time that will see millions of extra visitors to London and restrictions to the capital’s transport network.

Specifically, the mail services firm is looking at how mail can be delivered along and near to the Olympic Route Network (ORN) and Paralympic Route Network (PRN), which joins the events and training venues across the capital and home counties. The ORN and PRN have been established to “allow key participants to travel reliably to and from events”.

Side roads off the two networks will be temporarily closed, while “Games’ Lanes” will be setup and be accessible only to those individuals that Olympic chiefs claim “make the games happen” such as athletes, games officials and the media.

Royal Mail will work with authorities including Transport for London, to seek some exemptions to road restrictions in London to enable it to deliver the Universal Service Obligation.

Thomson says that it will look at the logistics “road by road” and “postman by postman” to establish a plan that limit disruption to Royal Mail’s business and personal customers and meet the “unique challenges” that the Olympics bring.

Royal Mail will look at introducing greater “flexibility” in terms of delivery times and shifts. It will also keep an open dialogue with its biggest business mailers to limit disruption to any planned “extremely important mailings” to support brand launches, for example.

The postal operator is to write to key business contacts in the coming weeks to explain that it is working on solutions and plans to send regular updates on progress in the lead up to the Games.

A door drop campaign to update local residents is also being considered.

Thomson, who will take the title Olympics director, will be replaced by deputy finance director Frank Schinella on an interim basis.

In addition to his logistical responsibilities, Thomson will also lead and co-ordinate Royal Mail’s Special Stamps programme, which includes a range of activities to celebrate the London Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012.

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