date of creation
In current format: 1991
number of employees
260,000 (as of end of 2016)
La Poste was officially created in January 1991. Facing increasing competition from the internet, the company has always sought to innovate and diversify and became an email provider in 2000 and also created a logistics subsidiary that same year. In 2006, it made its banking arm a separate subsidiary to comply with French law and EU directives and it was named La Banque Postale.
La Poste lost its monopoly in mail in 2005 and became a public limited company in 2010. In 2016, they launched a drone delivery service to companies in more isolated areas of the country.
The history of France’s postal service dates back to 1477 but it began to develop more in 1879 when the French government united mail and telegraph services as P&T (Postes et télégraphes) which was later changed to PTT (Postes, télégraphes et téléphones). A savings bank was added to the services provided in 1881 and in 1889, the government assumed a monopoly over telephone services and added this to P&T’s responsibilities and it became PTT. It remained under that name until 1959 when it was changed to Postes et Télécommunications, though PPT was kept as the acronym for the business.
By the 1980s, it was becoming apparent that the old PTT business model was struggling in the face of rapidly modernising telecommunications. There was little in the ay of diversification or innovation and management appeared stuck in the past.
The first suggestion of splitting – and modernising – the service had been made in 1974 but had met strong opposition from trade unions. So it was not until 1988 under Michel Rocard that the government finally passed a law to reorganize the PTT.
Despite continuing opposition from the unions, and several strikes, the law was passed in 1990 and La Poste and France Telecom came into being as of January 1st, 1991. France telecom was later privatised (in 1997) but La Poste has remained in the public sector.