Makram Azar
Full Circle Capital
Charlie Bain
Digitalis

Rico Back

Former CEO of Royal Mail & Co-Founder of GLS

Former CEO of Royal Mail & Co-Founder of GLS

Zürich, CH

Rico Back

Biography

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 Managing Director of German Parcel (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. As part of his efforts to revitalise the business, Rico introduced initiatives including a ‘track and sign’ service in partnership with China Post; the creation of parcel boxes alongside the iconic red postboxes; and enhancements to customer service, such as the ability to pay for postage online and track parcels via an app.

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 national parcel business. In this role, Rico laid the foundations for a parcel-centric business by focusing on technology, including modernising IT systems, increased barcoding and introducing handheld scanners. Rico attended Royal Mail’s main board from 2002.

Rico also served as CEO of GLS for 18 years. In 1989, he had co-founded German Parcel, a national 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.

Rico Back resides in Switzerland.

Rico’s Background

Former CEO of Royal Mail & Co-Founder of GLS logo Former CEO of Royal Mail & Co-Founder of GLS logo
Former CEO of Royal Mail & Co-Founder of GLS
London, UK
Rico Back is a businessman and entrepreneur who has been an influential figure in the international parcel industry for more than three decades.
CEO and Board Member
Jun 2018 - May 2020
London, UK
Royal Mail is a postal service in the UK that was founded in 1516. Royal Mail was a public service until its privatisation in 2015. It now trades as a public limited company.
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Rico’s Gallery

Previous Board Positions

Chairman of GLS (and of various GLS companies)
2018 - 2020
Amsterdam, NL
Member of the Supervisory Board
2012 - 2015
Oss, NL
Raben Group has been offering comprehensive logistics services for 85 years and has a presence in 12 European countries.

Media

Zur Person: Rico Back
Sep 2019
Berlin, DE
Welt, a German publication, describes Rico Back’s professional career in the international parcel industry.
Interviewee
May 2019
London, UK
Royal Mail TV interviews Rico Back about Journey 2024. Rico Back explains the plan to redesign Royal Mail to be efficient, customer-focused, stronger in parcels, while maintaining the company’s core competence in letters and remaining part of the fabric of the UK and local society.
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