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Client Story

Royal Mail

Helping to ensure the successful privatization of a FTSE100 business

Providing the critical foundation for success

What did it take to help ensure the success of one of the UK’s most recent privatizations? Information – masses of it – gathered, audited and organized in the right way so Royal Mail could tell a clear and vivid story with great confidence to potential investors, employees, the media – to all concerned. The privatization would simply not have succeeded without this information. It was a key foundation. What, in turn, did this take? Trusted experts working quickly, collaboratively, tirelessly by Royal Mail’s side, organizing and delivering critical streams of work from the early stages in the run up to privatization, through to execution and beyond.

Berkeley’s involvement transformed our ability to deliver this hugely challenging program. We would not have succeeded without their support.” 

Director of Information Management, Royal Mail

A critical task: a huge responsibility

Berkeley was called in to help with the early stages of Royal Mail’s privatization. We had worked with our client on various projects for at least four years and when they were handed the huge responsibility covering a major aspect of the privatization they turned to us to provide critical support.

All-important information at the heart of the privatization story

At this point in the process, Royal Mail was in the early days of formulating its privatization plan, exploring and setting down how best to privatize an organization of such scale and complexity – one which handles billions of items for businesses and individuals every year. 

It was vital Royal Mail had the right management information and reporting processes in place to tell a consistent and credible story to the government, investors, regulators, employees, the media – all stakeholders. To this end it needed not only to have the right raw information to tell the story but also an effective way of systematically organizing and presenting it. This was the focus of our initial support.

Managing and mitigating the information risks

We began by looking at the entire range of data across the organization. It was inevitably complex and varied, involving over 200 separate information artefacts. 

Our task at this stage was primarily to help Royal Mail bring all the information together to create a full, consistent, and rich picture of the organization, so that clear and definitive answers to any number of pre-privatization questions could be given by the Chief Executive and her senior leadership team. It was essentially about managing and mitigating risk around the information at the heart of the privatization.

This level of pre-IPO information gathering, auditing and organizing is an incredibly complicated and time-consuming yet critical task that few businesses are equipped to do on their own. After all, privatizations are one-off events and it makes a great deal of sense to bring in outside help from independent experts. Berkeley built and led a team of Royal Mail and external resources to complete this critical task.

Creating a joined-up plan for critical-path activities

Following the information audit, we also helped pull together all the different projects involved in validating the future business plan into a single program of work. It involved coordinating planning across five workstreams, ten internal teams, and four external suppliers. This was another key aspect of preparing the ground for success – ensuring that the various projects to validate the five-year business plan were all scoped correctly and set up for success.

Clarifying a key issue with definitive answers

One of these key projects focused on further standardizing methods for reporting mail volumes across the organization. This was naturally a key area of interest for everyone involved and interested in the privatization. Again, the extent and complexity of information surrounding this one area was vast. We brought together a project team of all concerned - from operations to finance to commercial teams, from senior leaders inside the organization to outside specialists. 

We helped to bring real detail, consistent definitions and shared understanding and agreement so that critical questions could be answered clearly and confidently – with a degree of accuracy that had never been achieved before.”

Playing a key part in the run up to the IPO

Our other major area of work covered preparing for and helping the executive team answer all the non-financial questions in the run up to the execution of the IPO – from coordinating different parts of the business through a common process, to feeding definitive data into the prospectus, and to helping Royal Mail respond to specific questions from various parties right up to the last minute before the IPO.

Helping to ensure success

We’re proud to have played an instrumental part in helping ensure the success of such a big and complex privatization. It was quite a curve of success – from managing the technical information audit surrounding the event, to creating the program plan for validating the business plan, answering questions around the most crucial business metrics, and working with the executive team on prospectus information right up to the last minute.

Along the way, we fostered greater understanding and effectiveness across the business, establishing definitive answers to critical questions founded on well-organized and defined information.

Ultimately, we helped craft and tell the story of Royal Mail’s future as a listed company.”

Encouraging closer working relationships

Through the course of our work, we also helped bring different parts of the organization together around shared answers and understanding. There was a common set of rigorous data they could all buy into, which in turn helped encourage closer working relationships across the business. 

Indeed, in many of our projects for large organizations, one of the key differences we deliver is to consciously bring together cross-directorate teams and get them to work well to deliver programs – forging longer lasting links that continue well beyond the delivery of the programs themselves.

Lasting improvements

As well as closer working relationships, we also left a legacy of improved management information. We scoped a program of projects for Royal Mail to run themselves to fix problems and embed changes. These projects ranged from IT system improvements to organizational changes to create a centralized information management capability. These projects then went on to be successfully delivered by the client team.