One thing’s for sure: The new postmaster general has a sense of humor.
“I originally thought this was an early rate implementation gala,” quipped William J. Henderson during festivities at the DMA’s Government Affairs conference last month.
Introduced to DMers for the first time as PMG designate, he also showed that he knows what he’s up against. He admitted that he’d had “a hectic couple of days,” and warned mailers there will be “some difficult times.”
What’s on the agenda?
“We want to take a big interest in legislation, to work closer with Congress and to improve cost cutting,” he said.
Even before these remarks, direct marketers and industry groups were happy about the appointment of the bow-tie-wearing Henderson as the nation’s 71st postmaster general.
“It’s a great choice,” said Gene Del Polito, president of the Advertising Mail Marketing Association. “Of al the people I’ve talked to at postal headquarters, he has the clearest vision of what the postal service needs in terms of information management and technology to take it into the 21st century.”
Adds Direct Marketing Association president H. Robert Wientzen:
“The DMA is pleased with Mr. Henderson’s selection, and looks forward to working with him to improve service and hold down costs. The DMA hopes that the recent improvements in the postal service’s financial position will not be lost in the negotiations.”
Ted Deikel, chairman/CEO of Fingerhut Cos., who worked with Henderson on the blue-ribbon commission studying postal operations, says that Henderson will make a great successor to [outgoing PMG] Marvin Runyon until he can put his own stamp on the postal service.”
Henderson, who joined the USPS 26 years ago, is the first career postal employee elevated to the post in 12 years. The others were Paul N. Carlin, who served less than a year in 1985, and William F. Bolger, appointed in 1978.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Henderson served as postmaster in Memphis, TN, Stockton, CA and Greensboro, NC. He also worked as chief marketing officer and senior vice president of the USPS and vice president for employee relations before being promoted to COO by Runyon in June 1994.
Meanwhile, Henderson paid a backhanded compliment to his predecessor.
“I know that Marvin is pleased to be leaving. He has a lot of great attributes, and one of them is his sense of timing.”