Examination of Witnesses (Questions 177
MONDAY 25 MARCH 2002
ROBERTS CBE, MARISA
177. Welcome to Committee of Public Accounts
of the House of Commons. Today we are considering the Comptroller
and Auditor General's Report on Opening the Post, Postcomm and
postal services. We have had a hearing on 13th February when we
heard from Postcomm. We thought there were a number of questions
which we need further elucidation on the practicalities of Postcomm's
proposals. We felt it was only fair as Postcomm were making various
assertions about the impact of the further competition on Consignia
we thought it was only fair we should hear from Consignia. We
are very grateful that Mr John Roberts, the Chief Executive of
Consignia, has accepted our invitation to come this afternoon.
Welcome to you.
(Mr Roberts) Thank you very much, Chairman.
178. I well remember working with you in the
DTI many years ago. I am pleased to meet you again. Would you
please introduce your colleagues?
(Mr Roberts) Yes. On my right is Marisa Cassoni, the
Group Finance Director and on my left is Mr Stuart Sweetman, the
Group Managing Director for Strategy and Business Development.
179. Thank you. First of all, I must put it
to you that your critics maintain that you and your Board are
so incompetent in running your company that the only way to improve
performance is by competition, and the kind the competition we
are looking at from Postcomm and very considerable advance in
what we know and full competition by 2006. What is your answer
(Mr Roberts) On the first part there has been a lot
assertions made about the competence, efficiency and everything
else. If you look at the record of the Board over the last five
or six years then it has been going through an enormous amount
of change, even more so over the last year or so, and I think
a lot of those changes have been managed quite well, some have
not. I think that would be the experience of many companies going
through the scale of change we are. In terms of competition, I
think that competition will have an impact on the business, competition
always does. Even before competition was proposed we were putting
in some fairly radical changes, some of which have led to some
of the industrial relation problems which have been well publicised,
and those changes would have come in any way irrespective of competition.
There is no doubt that competition will inevitably, for a monopoly
industry, an old public sector monopoly industry, have an impact,
and probably an impact out of all scale to what is being introduced.