2/23/17 Canberra • Australia’s highest-paid public servant announced his resignation Thursday, two weeks after the revelation that he made 5.6 million Australian dollars ($4.3 million) last year sparked a public furor and created a political headache for the government.
Australia Post managing director Ahmed Fahour said he was quitting the national mail service on the same day the government-owned corporation announced a profit of AU$131 million for the six months through December. The figure was a big jump from the AU$16 million profit the corporation made in the same period a year earlier.
The Lebanese-born former banker said he was leaving because Australia Post had transformed from a traditional mail service to a parcel and e-commerce business during his seven years at the helm.
Fahour, 50, said he would leave Australia Post in July following the announcement of his successor.
The government later said an independent tribunal that decides the salaries of lawmakers, judges and government department bosses will rule on how much Fahour’s replacement is worth.
While the Australia Post board of directors will continue to decide the managing director’s salary package, it will now have to persuade the Remuneration Tribunal that the pay is consistent with what other senior public servants are paid.
Earlier this month, a Senate committee revealed Fahour’s pay despite objections from Australia Post that making it public could damage the corporation’s brand.
His AU$4.4 million salary plus an AU$1.2 million bonus in the last fiscal year was more than 10 times the prime minister’s salary of AU$507,000.
By contrast, U.S. Postal Service Chief Executive and Postmaster General Megan Brennan’s salary was $286,137 last year.
Fahour said Australia Post should not be compared to the loss-making U.S. Postal Service.
“They are a letters company and, by the way, they lose $20 billion a year and have done so now for a number of years,” Fahour said.