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Aus Post Appoints Woolies Exec For Top Job Amid Holgate Firestorm

One day before what is set to be an explosive public hearing at the Senate inquiry into the departure of Christine Holgate, Australia Post has appointed Woolworths bigwig Paul Graham as its next CEO.

Paul Graham.

Graham, the chief supply chain officer for Woolworths, brings more than 40 years of industry knowledge to the role, having previously served as DHL’s Global COO and CEO for Europe.

Lucio Di Bartolomeo, chair of Australia Post, hailed Graham as an “outstanding candidate” with decades of experience in retail, digital, and logistics.

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

“The Board was impressed by Paul’s 40 years’ of deep industry experience working in supply chain in Australia, Europe and Asia. We are also confident Paul’s community and customer philosophy is a perfect fit for Australia Post,” he said.

According to Graham, who will receive a base annual salary of $1,456,560 with potential incentives of $1,456,560 – roughly in line with Holgate – AusPost is “one of the most resilient and successful postal businesses anywhere in the world”, and an iconic Australian brand.

“I feel fortunate to be joining at a time when we can truly capitalise on the extraordinary growth in eCommerce experienced in the past year and continue developing our retail and digital offerings while keeping letter deliveries strong.

“I have been so privileged to run Woolworths’ 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,” he said.

“Media firestorm”: Christine Holgate.

Graham is set to join the national mail carrier in September and replace interim CEO Rodney Boys following the tumultuous exit of Christine Holgate, who alleges Di Bartolomeo pushed her out of the CEO position “for no justified reason” and left her to face a “media firestorm” over her awarding of Cartier watches to four Australia Post employees as a reward for securing deals with three big banks.

“To this date, I have not received any explanation why I was forced to stand down other than the minister and Prime Minister insisted on it, and that in itself does not have legal standing,” Holgate told the Senate enquiry in her submission.

Di Bartolomeo has refuted her claims, saying she was not unlawfully stood down and received “extensive and ongoing support” prior to and after her resignation.

“The agreement for Ms Holgate to stand aside was reached between myself and Ms Holgate in telephone discussions late that afternoon [22 October 2020], in breaks during a Board meeting that commenced at approximately 4.00pm.

“The Board did not stand down, or suspend, Ms Holgate from her role – that being an unnecessary consideration given her agreement to stand aside,” he said.

A public hearing is scheduled for the Senate enquiry tomorrow, April 13.

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