Royal Mail's letters chief is posted to the parcels division

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The Independent Online

The senior director in charge of the Royal Mail's letters business has been stripped of his responsibilities following allegations of thefts by postal workers and revelations about the loss of millions of letters.

Elmar Toime, the organisation's executive deputy chairman, has instead been put in charge of the performance of the parcels operation.

The chief executive Adam Crozier will take day-to-day control of the letters business on top of his overall responsibility for strategy.

While some 170,000 employees are involved in the delivery of letters, only 30,000 work in the parcels operation, and sources close to the Royal Mail said Mr Toime had been "sidelined". The organisation said yesterday that its new senior management structure was an attempt to "sort out" its performance.

The changes come in response to recent allegations in a Channel 4 television programme that Royal Mail staff were stealing money, and to an analysis by the consumer group Postwatch which revealed 14 million letters were "mis-delivered" every year.

Mr Crozier and the Royal Mail's chairman Allan Leighton told a meeting of 1,500 managers yesterday that moves to improve performance would be made over the next two months. Attempts would also be made to ensure the switch to single deliveries would be made without further problems.

The chief executive said the state-owned organisation had faced problems over the last few weeks but he was determined to get things right. He argued that the Royal Mail introduced more changes in the last five months than some of its competitors had in 10 years.

In an internal message to Royal Mail managers, Mr Leighton said the company structure was being simplified as the organisation moved into the third year of its renewal plan. Under the new regime there will be three operating divisions, with Letters linked with Logistics, and Parcels joiningInternational business. The Post Office side will remain as it is.

A spokesman for the Royal Mail said while some saw the letters division as underperforming, 90 per cent of first class letters were delivered the next day, and the new single system was meeting its target of delivering letters by lunchtime.