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Pomlett bows out as Logistics UK President

Leigh Pomlett formally announced that he will be stepping down as President of Logistics UK at the Logistics Awards 2021 last Thursday (9 December 2021).

Following a 40-year career in the industry, Pomlett, who was appointed President in 2016, will leave in March 2022 after six years at the helm of one of Britain’s biggest business groups.

When I took over the role six years ago, never would I have thought what the next six years would bring,” he told delegates at the gala dinner.

In his first year as President, Pomlett had to grapple with the challenge of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union and spent time engaging with senior policy makers in London and Brussels on the consequences for international supply chains.

“When Brexit came along, I did spend time in Brussels and I got a feeling that no-one would listen to us,” he said, “Well actually they did listen. They began to realise that supply chains were going to be heavily affected by this and if they didn’t listen the consequences were going to be grave.”

The other major event that has occurred during Pomlett’s presidency is the COVID-19 pandemic, which swept across Europe in early 2020. He praised the industry’s response to the crisis, particularly the delivery of the vaccination programme which he said represented an example of “brilliant logistics”.

“I’ve been in this industry for over 30 years and most of the time there’s been business as usual ups and downs,” he said, “but the seismic shocks that have hit us over the last two or three years give you a feeling of where the world’s going to be in the future. So, we’re going to have to get used to seismic shocks rather than just business as usual.”

One upside of having gone through the turmoil of Brexit, COVID-19 and the recent labour shortages is that the logistics sector now occupies a higher place on the news agenda than it has done for decades. Pomlett urged delegates to seize this opportunity now or risk squandering it forever.

“In my history I have never known the industry to be as talked about as it is today, and that’s good. However, we can’t waste this, we need to use it to attract far more talent to the industry than is there today. And we can do it off the back of these seismic events – COVID, Brexit, labour shortages – now is the time to capitalise on those because if we don’t capitalise upon them now, we never will.”

Looking forward, Pomlett said the forthcoming Year of Logistics campaign would see the business group leading a consortium of companies across all sectors and modes with the government’s backing to showcase career opportunities in the sector to schools, colleges and the military. “We’re going to have some really good jobs,” he said, “probably the best we’ve ever had in this industry.”

On decarbonisation, he said it would present the sector with a whole new array of challenges and underlined the importance of collaboration, both within the sector and with government.

“If we collaborate, we have a chance of achieving net zero by 2050. If we don’t collaborate, we have no chance,” Pomlett said, “This is a profound challenge that’s going to overtake both COVID and Brexit.”

Leigh Pomlett was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Logistics Awards 2021 and will be succeeded as Logistics UK President in 2022 by Phil Roe, Chief Operating Officer and Strategy Director, DHL Supply Chain.


Published On: 16/12/2021 16:00:55


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