In The Spotlight: A promotion for the private postman who keeps delivering?

Guy Buswell, UK mail
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The Independent Online

Royal Mail has yet to appoint a replacement for chief executive Adam Crozier, who has now left to run ITV, but it could do worse than consider Guy Buswell, currently in charge at one of the whippersnappers that has been chomping at its ankles in recent times.

Mr Buswell runs UK Mail, the leading British rival to Royal Mail in the private sector. It may still be an ankle-biter compared to the publicly owned behemoth, but it continues to grow despite the malaise in Britain's postal market, unveiling another improved profit yesterday, plus more plans for moves into packets that should help it compete with DHL and Home Delivery Network.

He might just provide the entrepreneurial flair that Royal Mail needs so badly. Eschewing an application to university in the late Seventies, Mr Buswell instead took a job behind the counter at Thomas Cook, before launching his own cut-price travel agency at the age of just 21. Next he honed his sales skills working as an estate agent during the property boom of the 1980s, before taking a job at the Nextday parcel delivery business. Other than a year out trying to get sponsorship for a motor-racing team – not an entirely successful episode by all accounts – he has been in the private postal market ever since. His five-year stint at the top of UK Mail has so far seen it win a 17 per cent share of Britain's postal market.

Unlike Mr Crozier, who time and again clashed with the unions at Royal Mail, Mr Buswell might even bring a bit of diplomacy to the business. At the height of the pre-Christmas strikes, he went out of his way not to be seen to be capitalising on his rival's misfortune and has since publicly praised Mr Crozier for trying to modernise.