Frank Appel has been Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Post since February 18, 2008. His present appointment is through October 2012.
Dr. Appel served as Head of Logistics, Mail International division of Deutsche Post AG since 2007. In this position, he was responsible for Global Business Services including Legal Services Insurance and Risk Management, Corporate Procurement, Information Technology, Corporate Real Estate, Finance Operations, DPWN Business Consulting and Global Customer Solutions at DHL.
He served as Head of Global Business services and Head of Corporate services of Deutsche Post AG and served as its Managing Director of Corporate Development since 2000.
Prior to his start at Deutsche Post AG, Appel served as Consultant and Project Manager at McKinsey & Co., Frankfurt am Main, Germany since 1993 and as Partner of Member of German Business Management, McKinsey & Co. since 1999.
Appel was born in 1961, is married and is the father of two children.
- 1989 – MSc in chemistry, University of Munich, Munich, Germany.
- 1993 – PhD in neurobiology at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland.
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Interview with Frank Appel: “The Power Comes from the Employees”
Frank Appel talks about his first days on the job as chairman of the Board of Management
What have you gone through in the past few days?
Frank Appel: Of course, the past few days have left a mark on me. They were definitely very unusual and disturbing. I worked closely with Klaus Zumwinkel for a very long time. He turned our company into the biggest player in our industry. We have a lot to thank him for.
Has Deutsche Post World Net been damaged by the recent events?
Appel: The Supervisory Board reacted quickly. On the Board of Management and in the company, we are fully functional. And of course it is my job, the job of the Board of Management and the job of employees to look ahead and to concentrate on our work.
Your appointment as CEO comes very suddenly. Are you prepared?
Appel: I have been working at the company for eight years. During this time, I have gained insight into all types of areas and held positions of responsibility. As a result of the STAR project that I directed and the group-wide First Choice initiative, I know the strengths and weaknesses very well. Through my responsibility for Global Customer Solutions, I am in direct contact with our Group’s top 100 customers. I know what our customers expect and where the snags occur in daily operations.
What can the company’s employees expect from you?
Appel: I am always happy to hear from employees and listen to them carefully. Based on the facts and a complete overview of an issue I will make clear decisions and inform employees immediately afterward. This requires a culture of openness. I offer this openness and expect it from others in return.
What are some of your top priorities?
Appel: We must focus much more intensely on our customers’ needs. Our company can continue to grow only if customers are really satisfied with us. To achieve this, all employees must be more closely involved in this effort. This applies in particular to our colleagues working on the front lines who deal with customers every day. They know where the weak spots are and where we have to improve.
How do you assess our company’s current position?
Appel: We are in very good shape. We have good products and a global service network. The focus now has to be on creating an even better working relationship among the divisions. We have to become something like a smoothly functioning organism. This is the only way that we will be able to succeed over the long term around the world and realize stronger growth than our competitors in the marketplace.
Will you stick to the concept of an integrated logistics group with a worldwide presence?
Appel: Yes. Our customers expect us to provide integrated total solutions. The precondition for this is a good working relationship among all divisions.
What can an individual employee do to promote greater collaboration within the group?
Appel: We will have to pull together more closely than we have in the past. Each person must try to put himself or herself in the position of colleagues from other divisions. Our attitude toward our working relationship must be: I will do anything that can help my colleagues – and then things will work out. This applies to executives and all employees.
What will you tackle first?
Appel: : Right now, we are working hard to take care of everything that must be completed before the Annual Press Conference on March 6. Next, we will address the issues related to the Annual General Meeting in May. There is also a clear need to take action on the U.S. express business and Postbank.
Will Postbank remain in the Group or be sold?
Appel: Right now, I see absolutely no reason to jump into something. Postbank is a jewel. No one will force us to come up with a plan for the future of Postbank that does not address our interests. We are in the driver’s seat, and nobody is going to push us off the road.
How can we get a handle on the express business in the United States?
Appel: Various options are possible, and we are taking a very close look at them right now. We will definitely maintain our presence in the United States. I will explore this issue very intensely in the days ahead.
The mail market in Germany has been liberalized. How do you see the future of the highly profitable Mail division?
Appel: I am not worried here at all. My board colleague Jürgen Gerdes is doing an excellent job. We are working very closely together, and I know about all of his plans. I think his new ideas for the mail business are exciting, innovative and promising. I am certain that we will be successful on the mail market.
What is important to you in your work?
Appel: To me, people are the key to intelligent logistics. The 520,000 employees at Deutsche Post World Net are the foundation on which we build. We need their ideas, their enthusiasm and their commitment. The power of the company does not come from the Board of Management. It comes from the employees. I am looking forward to working with them.