Australia Post appoints new MD and group CEO

Ex-Blackmores chief, Christina Holgate, has today been announced as the new chief of Australia Post effective from October, after a ‘global search that identified her as the outstanding candidate’ to lead the company in its transformation program.

Holgate will be the corporation’s next managing director and group CEO, and succeeds the departing Ahmed Fahour who will step down next month after seven-and-a-half years in the role.

Holgate joins after nine years as CEO of Blackmores and previous executive roles with Telstra, JP Morgan and Cable & Wireless.

The Turnbull Government issued a statement welcoming the appointment of Holgate.

Following direction by Government in February 2017, the remuneration of Australia Post’s new chief is now subject to oversight by the Remuneration Tribunal, an independent statutory authority. The government said consistent with the parameters set by the Remuneration Tribunal, the Australia Post board has agreed to a total remuneration of $1.375 million and performance pay of up to $1.375 million per annum.

Malcolm Turnbull had previously called on Fahour to take a voluntary pay cut and was critical of the $4.4 million salary and a $1.2 million bonus Fahour was paid last year, labelling it part of a “cult of excessive executive CEO remuneration”.

Australia Post chairman, John Stanhope, said the past seven years had seen the company “transformed into Australia’s leading parcels and e-commerce company” with critical reforms introduced to its letters service. He said Holgate had a demonstrated track-record of delivering results in large, complex organisations, both here in Australia and internationally.

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“The Board was impressed by her experience of working very successfully in a range of different industries that are highly regulated. And, on top of that, she has a proven ability to implement strategy – and successfully grow a business in Asia,” he said.

Stanhope also said Holgate’s business philosophy was a strategic fit for the company. “She is a firm believer that businesses must perform commercially, but also serve the community. And that’s entirely consistent with our objectives as a community-based business that has both commercial objectives and community service standards to uphold.”“Her knowledge of global e-commerce will be invaluable as we pursue our Asian Strategy, which is all about offering logistics support to Australian businesses that are either selling in Asia, or sourcing their products there.”

The Australia Post Board today also announced that its group chief customer officer, Christine Corbett, will lead the business through the CEO transition period – between Fahour’s departure on 28 July and Holgate’s arrival in October.

Corbett joined Australia Post in 1990 and has extensive experience working in key leadership roles across retail, mail network, major change, strategy, marketing and communications.

Holgate said she felt privileged to be appointed as CEO of such an iconic Australian corporation and she looked forward to building on the achievements of her predecessors.

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“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 really strengthen Post’s leading position in the e-commerce market – both here, in Australia, and in Asia,” Holgate said.

“I’m a passionate advocate for Australian business seizing the opportunity that’s on our doorstep in Asia and that creates opportunities for everyone – our workforce, our shareholder, the community, as well as businesses across Australia.

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