PostNL yesterday evening announced that Harry Koorstra, CEO of PostNL, has decided to resign his position with immediate effect. Mr. Koorstra noted that “The cooperation with the Supervisory Board has been very cumbersome of late, amongst others in relation to differences in opinion about how to serve best the various stakeholders’ interests. Under these circumstances, giving the challenges the company faces, I cannot and will not work. I am leaving without any compensation as I consider principles to be of paramount importance”.
The Supervisory Board intends to appoint Herna Verhagen, member of the Board of Management and responsible for Parcels and International, as the new CEO of PostNL. Mrs. Verhagen has almost twenty years’ experience within PostN and held a variety of positions with a focus on customers and employees such as Commercial Director and Group Director HR.
The departure CEO Koorstra comes as a surprise to us, and although a quick solution was already found through the internal nomination of the experienced Head of Parcels and International Herna Verhagen. Mrs. Verhagen already presented at the time of the 2011 Capital Markets Day and made a solid impression.
Still, Mr. Koorstra's experience in the Domestic Dutch Mail activities and especially the coordination with stakeholders and the Master Plans (restructuring plans) is a large asset that will get lost. As head of Mail in NL he was daily involved with the actual restructuring/transformation of the Dutch mail activities, the current pension discussions and he was also a direct contact with the Dutch government and regulator OPTA. His departure will likely be felt since the pension discussions and the recent restructuring issues are a paramount part of PostNL’s short term investment / business case.
We stick to our Accumulate rating on PostNL since we like the Parcels activities, and the International activities moving towards profitability. Furthermore PostNL recently announced a return to a cash dividend. We also expect a pension resolution could be a game changer for the company in terms of cash outflow, while the company’s track record in restructuring / transforming the Dutch Mail activities bodes well for future growth. This could get a dent through in the short term with the departure of Harry Koorstra for which the exact reasons still remain unknown.