Australia Post chief resigns despite bumper profits

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Ahmed FahourImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Mr Fahour joined Australia Post as chief executive in 2010

Australia Post's chief executive has resigned, weeks after controversy over the size of his salary.

Ahmed Fahour had been widely credited for turning around the government-owned organisation, returning it to profit.

But earlier this month it emerged he earned A$5.6m ($4.3m; £3.4m) last year, 10 times the salary of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The PM described the remuneration as "too high" with politicians saying it was excessive for a civil servant.

At the time, Australia Post defended the payout, saying it included a bonus due to Mr Fahour for steering the business into profit in 2016.

'Right strategy'

Announcing his departure, the firm made no reference to the controversy.

It said Mr Fahour had developed an entirely new strategy for the business, "focused on investing in the parcels and eCommerce business".

Image source, Getty Images

"It was the right strategy which has placed the postal service on the path to a sustainable future and avoiding a taxpayer bailout," chairman John Stanhope said.

A successor has not been named, but the board said it would begin the search for a new chief immediately.

E-mail threat

At a press conference after his departure was announced, the outgoing boss said the organisation had been overhauled during his seven years in charge.

"Everybody was writing media releases and articles about the death of mail and email was going to kill us and that it was through," Mr Fahour said.

"But we, the management team and the board, would have no part of that."

Australia Post said that under Mr Fahour's leadership, it had invested in a network which improved services and delivered more than A$4bn in dividends and taxes to the government in the past seven years.

Without the transformation, the postal service was potentially looking at a A$6.7bn bailout over a 10-year period, it added.

Australia Post earned A$197m ($151m; £121m) in first half pre-tax profit for the six months to December 2016. At the same time the previous year, its profit was at $1m.