Case Study: New Supervisory Board in the Fast-Changing Postal Sector

In 2017 the government of Ukraine identified a set of legal reforms to be implemented in the country’s postal industry, reflecting the latest sector developments and ensuring compliance with the recently-signed Ukraine–EU Memorandum of Understanding. The Program is strongly supported by international organizations, the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) being the most active.

The reforms would have clear implications for Ukraine’s national postal operator, Ukrposhta. A 100% state-owned entity reporting to Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Ukrposhta operates a fleet of 3,600 trucks and cars, employs 76,000 people (making it Ukraine’s third largest employer) and manages a network of 11,500 branches.

In October 2017, the EBRD issued a tender, within the framework of corporate governance reform, to conduct a search for up to five Independent Directors for Ukrposhta’s Supervisory Board. In November 2017, the tender was awarded to Amrop Ukraine.

Viesturs Liegis, Managing Partner of Amrop Ukraine, spearheaded the search, which has now reached a successful conclusion: Ukrposhta’s new Supervisory Board has five Independent Directors (Benoit Pleska, Joona Saluveer, Jakub Karnowski, Tommy Jensen and Oksana Volchko) and two state-nominated Board Members (Alexander Ozeran and Yuri Tustanovsky).

Viesturs Liegis shares some of the highlights:

The challenge

The selection of independent directors for Ukrposhta was a public, competitive process, open to all interested candidates. As the Ukraine talent pool for the postal sector is relatively small, Amrop proactively contacted high-potential candidates from organizations in several CEE countries. In total, candidates from more than 20 countries entered the competition.

Scale I. Professional Experience

Evaluation

Candidate assessment was conducted using a matrix allowing rankings on four scales.

Scale I. Professional Experience

Here we identified four criteria:

  1. Supervisory board experience
  2. Technical competencies
  3. Motivation
  4. Apart from the above, there was an exhaustive list of "exclusion" requirements a candidate for the vacancy must pass in order for their candidacy to be considered.

In total 89 applications were received, of which 10 did not meet the formal criteria. The candidates selected - 79 people, of whom 43 were Ukrainian - were evaluated according to the above requirements.

Scale II. Specialization

The postal service is a unique business undergoing drastic changes worldwide and specific experience was needed. Each of the potential independent directors had to specialize in one or more of the following areas:

  1. The postal and logistics business
  2. E-commerce and retail
  3. Financial services and auditing
  4. Strategy
  5. Operational efficiency

Two additional specializations were taken into account:

  1. Risk assessment and management
  2. Compliance and corporate governance.

Amrop now formed a short list of 20 candidates, broken down by seven selected specializations.

Scale III. Diversity

Diversity was a particular challenge: in forming the new Supervisory Board it was essential to take account of gender, country of origin, experience and age in order to ensure the heterogeneous mix of opinions most likely to ensure the team delivered objective and observation-based advice and solutions. In terms of gender (and from a talent pool where women are still under-represented), six female candidates applied and two were short-listed.

When it comes to gender and geographic diversity, Ukrposhta’s approved list of independent directors scores well: it is comprised of four men (from Poland, Denmark, Belgium and Estonia) and one woman from the Ukraine. Age diversity is also broad, as seniors with robust professional experience combine with young, dynamic people likely to challenge both the system and themselves.

Scale IV. Psychological compatibility

The final evaluation parameter is psychological compliance within the team. This determines the extent to which the candidates work together effectively as a team. From the outset, the stakeholders emphasized the importance of this dimension, for which Amrop selected the Team Role Experience & Orientation model (TREO). This defines six roles for a team and proposes that in order for the team to work effectively, each role must be assigned to one person.

What’s Next?

With the newly-composed team in place, the work for the new Supervisory Board now begins in earnest. Its success will depend, amongst other factors, on how effectively the team members establish communication with Ukrposhta’s management, how constructively they participate in strategy and planning discussions, and their ability to ask the right questions.

Amrop in the Ukraine

Amrop started activities in the Ukraine in the late 90s, conducting assignments for leading multinational and local companies, primarily in FMCG and Telecommunications. In 2006 Amrop formally established its office in Kyiv. Today, Amrop’s well-established Ukraine team operates in close cooperation with Amrop Partners from the Baltic countries and the global Amrop partnership. Amrop in Ukraine is a member of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).