Former Ocado executive Simon Thompson, who until recently ran the NHS Test and Trace app, has been named as Royal Mail's new UK chief executive.

Thompson replaces former chief executive Rico Back who left the Royal Mail in May, amid criticism of his pay and his decision to run the business from his home in Switzerland.

Interim chief executive Stuart Simpson, who stepped in when Back left in May, is to leave the business.

Thompson, who takes up the role with immediate effect, was chief product officer at the online grocer Ocado until May. He has also held executive roles at HSBC and

The appointment comes as Royal Mail reviews its Christmas performance which saw delays due to a surge in demand, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Interim chairman Keith Williams said Thompson “has a wealth of experience both in digital transformation and customer experience and is ideally placed to lead the opportunity to grow and expand our UK parcels business and to meet our customers' needs across both letters and parcels".

Thompson joins the company just three weeks after Royal Mail agreed a pay deal with the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which saw the end of a two-year dispute which had dominated Back’s time at the business.

Royal Mail said the deal will help it better focus on its parcels business as it benefits from the rise in online shopping driven by the pandemic.

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Williams added that Thompson has also been a non-executive director at Royal Mail since 2017, which enables him to bring “a significant knowledge" of the group and its operations.

Thompson said: "Against the backdrop of a challenging year, our colleagues have once again demonstrated the invaluable service they provide for our communities up and down the country.

“Looking ahead, we need to build on the great trust we have on the doorstep. We need to develop a razor-sharp focus on the customer, making sure our services are delivering exactly what our customers need and want. And we need to explore new opportunities for growth.

“We now have a unique opportunity to grow our business, and I look forward to working with our colleagues and stakeholders to take this great company forward.”

Thompson will be paid about 20% less than Back, with a base salary of £525,000 and a pension allowance of 13.6%.

He will also be eligible to participate in the firm's short-term and long-term incentive plans, taking his total annual remuneration to around £1.4m.

Back took home £1.7m last year and received a £5.8m payout on joining the firm, despite shareholder objections.

Royal Mail said Martin Seidenberg, chief executive of its international parcels business GLS, will also join the Board in April. He joined GLS in March 2015 from DHL and was appointed chief executive in May 2020.