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Roberto Cirillo: “We need to get a move on”

Roberto Cirillo has been Swiss Post CEO for a good 20 weeks now. At a press conference at the new parcel center in Cadenazzo (TI), he looks back over his first few months at Swiss Post. He’s impressed by the high level of commitment shown by staff. However, he also stresses that Swiss Post needs to get a move on so that it can to continue to finance the universal service without taxpayers’ money – which is the clear goal. For this to happen, Cirillo requires a holistic analysis of Swiss Post. It’s obvious to him that Swiss Post must become more relevant again – to the people and companies in Switzerland. To do so, the company needs to boldly strike out in new directions. This should be reflected clearly in the new strategy for the years 2021 onwards.

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48-year-old Roberto Cirillo from Ticino has been Swiss Post CEO since April 2019. When he arrived, he promised that during the first few months he would visit and listen to employees throughout Switzerland and from all Group units. He also said he would establish dialogue with customers, politicians and the public. He has kept these promises. As well as visiting customers and exchanging views with politicians in the course of almost 30 visits, the new CEO has been to branches, parcel and letter centers and to customers’ front doors to deliver letters. “I’ve heard the enthusiasm and concerns of employees. I’ve got involved, listened, taken part in discussions and asked questions.”

We can’t rest on our laurels

Roberto Cirillo has also been keen to identify Swiss Post’s DNA and get to know its strengths. “I’ve discovered a modern, innovative Swiss Post”, says Cirillo. Swiss Post is well established in the lives of the Swiss people. “Our network of mail carriers and branches is our trump card. It’s unique in Switzerland. Who else comes to the front door of every home in Switzerland each day?” Swiss Post also has extensive logistics expertise. “I’ve discovered a Swiss Post that is fully committed to public service.” All this represents an excellent starting point for the future. Roberto Cirillo has also spent time conducting an in-depth analysis of Swiss Post. His intention was not just to examine the units such as PostLogistics, PostMail or the branch network in isolation. “We’ve used the time to carry out a holistic analysis of Swiss Post across all its units”, explains Roberto Cirillo. The result is conclusive: “In ten years’ time we won’t be able to finance the universal service out of our own pocket – unless we take action now.” The CEO understands that Swiss Post has a difficult journey ahead. But he knows what the goal is: “We must stay relevant to the people and companies in Switzerland, so that Swiss Post remains a key part of the identity of a modern Switzerland in the future.”

A new strategy to show the way

Roberto Cirillo is thinking outside the box in developing the strategy for the period starting in 2021. “We’re not drawing up the strategy in an ivory tower.” Instead, he has formed a group of employees. Most of them are between the ages of 30 and 40, and are not necessarily from senior management. “They’re prepared to adopt a different approach, look beyond convenient solutions and break free from old habits. It’s important to think about the future, which means listening to the ideas of the young employees at Swiss Post. They’ll help us to develop Swiss Post’s strategy for the period from 2021.” Roberto Cirillo gives an insight into the work being done, but also emphasizes that the strategy process isn’t complete yet. Potential scenarios will be submitted to Executive Management, the Board of Directors and finally to the owner, the Confederation.

The last mile, a paperless Switzerland and cross-unit industry solutions

“Some ideas are obvious”, says Roberto Cirillo. “They are in step with the needs of society and the economy, and their impact on logistics.” According to Cirillo, the significant expansion of local distribution and last mile services for Switzerland is just one example. Other ideas are more forward-looking, such as the promotion of circular economy business models. “Here we’re looking at services such as logistics without packaging, repair & reuse services and platforms for the sharing economy.” As part of a project with the working title “Public Digital Services 2.0”, the newly-formed strategy group is investigating how Swiss Post can offer its services and strengths as a pioneer of a digital, paperless Switzerland.

Swiss Post should also be able to move in completely new directions in the future, however: “After a series of discussions with partners, customers and the authorities, we’ve decided to examine cross-unit industry solutions as well, for instance in healthcare, in assisting with the tasks performed by public authorities or in the financial sector”, adds Cirillo. “These are some of the approaches we’d like to examine as we develop the new strategy for Swiss Post, and for Switzerland as a whole. We’ll continue to work on these ideas in the coming months.”

New jobs in Neuchâtel and Bellinzona

Roberto Cirillo has already made decisions and introduced changes in his first few months at Swiss Post. “We’ve found a solution for CarPostal France and are now focusing on one thing: developing a future-proof e-voting system.” The agreement reached with the social partners for recording working time in the logistics sector is particularly important to the CEO. “Swiss Post won’t rest until we’ve developed our new strategy”, says Cirillo. That’s why it’s crucial to take the first steps as quickly as possible. “Even while the next strategy is still being prepared, we’re creating new, high-quality jobs in the IT sector in Neuchâtel and Bellinzona as part of our efforts to establish decentralized competence centers.” In doing so, Swiss Post is also fulfilling its role as a major employer in the regions. Similar measures in other units will be examined in the next twelve months. Cirillo is well aware that Swiss Post needs to tighten its belt a little in the meantime. And investment volumes for 2020 must also be brought into line with the result expected for 2019. “We don’t want to spend more money than we earn.”


Text of Roberto Cirillo's address (PDF, 128.9 KB)


Léa Wertheimer, Swiss Post Media Unit, 058 341 00 00,