Businessman and entrepreneur Rico Back has been a leading figure in the global parcel industry for over three decades. He is the former CEO of Royal Mail Group and Co-Founder and former CEO of GLS.
During Rico’s tenure as CEO of Royal Mail, he led the creation of a five-year plan, “Journey 2024”, designed to ensure a long-term, sustainable future for the business. His strategy envisaged a transformation from a business predominantly focused on UK letters to an international parcel company with a letters operation in the UK. The plan’s core ‘turnaround and grow’ initiative included a renewed focus on productivity, operational excellence, and increased automation in the UK. It also aimed to expand GLS organically and through acquisitions across Europe and North America.
Prior to becoming CEO of Royal Mail, Rico was CEO of Royal Mail Parcels, responsible for the group’s international activities, including letters, as well as the UK parcel business. In this role, Rico laid the foundations for the broader Royal Mail group to become parcel-centric by focusing on technology, including modernising IT systems, increased barcoding and introducing handheld scanners. Rico attended Royal Mail’s main board from 2002.
Previously, Rico served as CEO of GLS for 18 years. In 1989, he had co-founded German Parcel, a parcel service provider in Germany, later rebranded as GLS. In 1999, Rico led its sale to Royal Mail and continued to expand its network to build a pan-European parcel service. Under his leadership, GLS became the leading ground-based deferred parcel company in continental Europe with a turnover of over €4bn. From 2018 to 2020, Rico served as Chairman of GLS.
In addition to his extensive operational experience in the global parcel industry, Rico has led the successful acquisition and integration of over 80 businesses during his career. Complementing his corporate advisory work, Rico is also Chairman of Swiss-based Tiger Asset Management AG.