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Australia Post appoints new CEO and Managing Director

The appointment was announced 24 hours before his predecessor Christine Holgate was due to give evidence before a Senate inquiry into her departure.

Australia Post, Paul Graham

Paul Graham, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Woolworths Group, will be the next Group CEO and Managing Director of Australia Post.

Graham will replace Christine Holgate who departed under controversial circumstances five months ago after rewarding four senior employees with Cartier watches, totalling US$15,000 (A$20,000). He will start in the role at the taxpayer-funded agency in September.

Holgate has contested her exit and condemned Australia Post’s Chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo, who also is Chair of Health Infrastructure NSW and Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd, Deputy Chair of Moorbank Intermodal Company and a non-executive director of AustralianSuper.

Australia Post, Christine Holgate

Holgate and Bartolomeo are to face an Australian Government Senate inquiry into her departure on Tuesday. Holgate in a written submission to the inquiry was scathing of her departure.

“I was humiliated in parliament and then unlawfully stood down by the Australia Post Chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo from a role I was passionately committed to,” she said in the 154-page document.

“The experience the Chair of Australia Post and others put me through – which continues – should never be allowed to happen again, not just at Australia Post, but in any organisation, to any person, in any role.

“I believe I have been victimised and that my reputation and career ‘thrown under the bus’ without justification to save the reputations and careers of others.”

Holgate said Bartolomeo “not only unlawfully stood me down, he lied repeatedly to the Australian people and to their parliament about his actions”.

In announcing the new Group CEO and Managing Director, Bartolomeo described Graham as “an outstanding candidate with strong logistics, digital and retail experience both here and overseas”.

“Paul also has a demonstrated track record of delivering results in large, complex organisations and is a proven leader in managing large teams.”

Graham made no mention of the turbulence surrounding his predecessor as he welcomed his appointment.

“Australia Post has proven itself to be one of the most resilient and successful postal businesses anywhere in the world. I feel fortunate to be joining at a time when we can truly capitalise on the extraordinary growth in e-commerce experienced in the past year and continue developing our retail and digital offerings while keeping letter deliveries strong,” he said.

“I am most looking forward to meeting the team across the country – the posties, Post Office workers, mail processors and delivery drivers that kept our country operating during COVID-19. I am also looking forward to getting out into regional Australia where Australia Post has an enormous presence, as well as meeting with the thousands of Post Office licensee partners who play a critical role every day serving the country.

“I have been so privileged to run Woolworths’s supply chain for the past five years and it has shown me how important it is to keep our customers at the centre of everything we do – without our customers we don’t have a business.”

Graham’s remuneration has been set at US$1.1 million (A$1,456,560) fixed annual total remuneration with the potential to earn incentive payments of up to US$1.1 million (A$1,456,560), in accordance with the parameters set by the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal.

The Australia Post Board today also confirmed that Rodney Boys will continue to lead the business through the CEO transition period until Graham commences in September.

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