UPDATE 2-PostNL says CEO quits, cites differences

Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:57pm EDT

Related Topics

* Board member in charge of parcels is new CEO

* No reason given for surprise resignation (Adds reorganisation details)

AMSTERDAM, April 19 (Reuters) - Dutch postal group PostNL , under pressure to improve performance as mail volumes decline, said on Thursday its chief executive Harry Koorstra has resigned with immediate effect.

Herna Verhagen, a member of the board of management responsible for parcels and international, was named the new CEO.

A PostNL spokesman declined to provide reasons for the surprise decision by Koorstra, who left with no compensation.

"Such a decision doesn't get made overnight," Koorstra said in a company statement issued on Thursday evening. "Co-operation 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."

The former state monopoly is the main provider of postal services in the Netherlands, where it faces intense price competition and traditional mail services are losing out to email.

PostNL has had a rough year since hiving off its express delivery business, TNT Express, in May 2011.

It came under fire over its poor performance and as it warned of shortfalls in its pension funds.

Dutch media reported this week that the ongoing reorganisation of PostNL's domestic business would be halted until July due to problems in mail and package delivery. PostNL is replacing thousands of mail couriers on full-time contracts with flexible part-time workers.

TURNAROUND

As the biggest shareholder in TNT, PostNL was hit by a plunge in TNT shares last year, from a high of 10.2 euros to as low as 4.46 euros, forcing PostNL to write down the value of its stake by more than 700 million euros ($920.01 million).

TNT's stock only recovered after activist shareholders started to push for better performance and United Parcel Service Inc launched a 5.2 billion euros takeover offer earlier this year for the Dutch freight and delivery firm.

PostNL told Reuters last month it was considering a one-off special dividend or share buyback after the sale of its stake in TNT Express to UPS.

The mail group, which scrapped cash dividend payouts during years of painful restructuring, will make roughly 1.5 billion euros from divesting its 29.8 percent stake.

PostNL told Reuters the proceeds will first go towards paying off 700 million euros in debt. It will use 300 million euros to reinstate a cash dividend for 2012 and 2013, and another 300 million to invest in operations outside the Netherlands, it added.

That would leave roughly 200 million euros to spend on one-off measures.

($1 = 0.7609 euros) (Reporting by Sara Webb and Anthony Deutsch, editing by James Jukwey and Richard Chang)

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