The presidency of La Poste can be a trap for Christian Levrat

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Christian Levrat is an actor. A leader. A man who likes to get his hands dirty. Who loves political combat. After twelve years spent mounting blows and forging alliances at the head of the PS, we would have seen him confront his positions with those of his opponents within an executive, in this case that of the canton of Friborg.

It will not be. He will be the new chairman of the board of directors of La Poste. Is it a good choice? The question is legitimate. First of all, because Simonetta Sommaruga cannot escape the suspicion of political cronyism. As soon as the resignation of Christian Democrat Urs Schwaller was announced, no one doubted that she would call on a personality from her camp to succeed her. This provides guarantees to La Poste staff, shaken by major economic, societal and structural changes.

Read also: Urs Schwaller leaves the presidency of La Poste

It must be recognized that Christian Levrat has assets to enable La Poste to meet the challenges of the future: his past as a critical trade unionist, the credibility he enjoys with the staff, his knowledge of postal matters, his networks and his sense of strategy – he is an excellent chess player.

But he will have to avoid concreting La Poste in obsolete structures. Today, a “public service company”, as he defines it himself, is, precisely, a “company”. It must succeed in the digital shift and know how to adapt to a rapidly changing environment: the inevitable drop in the volume of letters and the phenomenal growth of online commerce and parcels.

Also read: Christian Levrat’s withdrawal reshuffles the cards in Friborg

Above all, one can wonder if he will flourish in this function. As Chairman of the Board of Directors, he is responsible for enforcing the strategic lines and objectives assigned by the Federal Council. Will his bubbling temperament as a man of the field be satisfied with this role?

We remember that La Poste had a complicated experience a few years ago with Claude Béglé. Appointed chairman of the board of directors at the time of Moritz Leuenberger, the Vaudois was not content to define the strategy. He communicated a lot and was willingly involved in operations, which generated strong tensions with management. Will Christian Levrat be able to resist this temptation?

Read also the related article: The challenges awaiting Christian Levrat at La Poste are numerous