Why an interim chair is the best choice for the Post Office

Dave Lea | 13 May 2024

An interim chair has been appointed to lead the Post Office through a challenging period of transformation. 

Dave Lea, managing partner, explains why an interim leader is the perfect choice for helping both postmasters and the organisation to move on from the Horizon scandal.

The Post Office has had a tumultuous time following the Horizon IT scandal. Between 1999-2015, more than 900 Post Office operators were wrongly prosecuted due to accounting software issues that made it seem that money was missing from post offices.

The organisation has since faced legal challenges, pay outs, and a years-long public inquiry. More than 4,000 people affected have been told they will be eligible for compensation. Approximately £160 million has already been paid out.

The former chair of the Post Office was removed from post in January 2024.

Rather than making a permanent appointment, the Department for Business and Trade has announced an interim chair. Nigel Railton has been hired on an interim basis for an initial 12-month contract, expected to start in the role as soon as possible. He will lead the Post Office through the ongoing public inquiry and oversee the company’s compensation towards victims of the issue.

Why appoint an interim leader?

Interim leaders are having an ever-increasing impact in organisations. They play a key role in supporting organisations through transformations and crises. During times of change, they provide expertise to deliver large-scale transformation. They bring specific specialist skills, knowledge and expertise.

Senior interim leaders can help to ensure organisations continue to operate without disruption. With no Post Office chair currently in post, an interim appointment provides ongoing leadership and strategic thinking until a new permanent hire is found.

During times of turmoil – as in the Post Office’s case – an interim leader can steer an organisation through challenging circumstances.

Fixing past mistakes

An interim leader is brought in to solve a very specific challenge, and this is central to their strategic thinking. They are able to better approach and resolve problems because they have less of a vested interest in climbing the corporate ladder.

Interims can help to mitigate and manage risk and respond to the unexpected. With the Horizon public inquiry ongoing, it’s important that Mr Railton can react to new findings.

As interim chair, Nigel Railton will be free to act with the objectivity required to put postmasters at the heart of decision making. This will help resolve issues with compensation payments.

Positive transformation for the future 

Interims are experts at making change happen at pace, in the best interests of the business. They can act fast to refocus and re-energise an organisation.

Nigel Railton has been appointed by the Government because of his experience in transforming organisations and he’ll be able to achieve this in an interim capacity.

Rather than fearing about making decisions that could negatively impact career progression, an interim is able to focus on doing what’s required to truly benefit an organisation and its people. Mr Railton can put findings from the Horizon public inquiry at the heart of his decision making, learning from the past to benefit the Post Office in the long term.


To find out why we have been named the number one provider of interim management in the UK for our interim services, please contact us.


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