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During his time at Safeway the company was at the forefront of retail IT innovation, trialling technology such as radio frequency identification and electronic shelf-edge labelling. It was the first in the UK to fully implement chip and Pin.
Francis left Safeway last March following its takeover by Morrisons. Prior to Safeway, Francis worked for Mars Confectionery. He later became IT director for Pepsi Cola International, based in New York.
"The fact that the Post Office has a network of more than 15,000 branches - larger than all the UK's banks and building societies put together - makes the role a unique challenge," said Francis.