Post finds new chief at Woolies
But timing draws senators’ ire
AUSTRALIA Post has named Woolworths executive Paul Graham as its managing director, a day before a Senate inquiry into the controversial ousting of former boss Christine Holgate.
The move triggered a rebuke from the inquiry’s chair, Senator Sarah HansonYoung, who said Mr Graham’s appointment was not appropriate while the Senate was investigating the circumstances around Ms Holgate’s departure.
“While the matter of the termination of Ms Holgate’s employment is before a Senate inquiry, the appointment of a new CEO is inappropriate and seeks to undermine the Senate inquiry process,” Ms Hanson-Young said.
Senator Pauline Hanson, who called for the inquiry, has also criticised the timing of Mr Graham’s appointment.
The search for a new chief executive, which executive recruitment firm Egon Zehnder completed on Australia Post’s behalf, is estimated to cost about $500,000, according to recruitment insiders.
The inquiry will probe Ms Holgate’s claims that Australia Post chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo bullied and humiliated her, and stood her down unlawfully after she drew criticism from Prime Minister Scott Morrison for rewarding four senior executives with Cartier watches, worth a total of almost $20,000.
Mr Di Bartolomeo said Mr Graham was an “outstanding candidate with strong logistics, digital and retail experience both here and overseas”.
Mr Graham was a former executive with Germany’s Deutsche Post DHL Group. He has worked as Woolworth’s chief supply chain officer for the past five years.
“Paul has a demonstrated track record of delivering results in large, complex organisations and is a proven leader managing large teams,” Mr Di Bartolomeo said. “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 also a perfect fit for Australia Post.”
Mr Graham will be paid fixed total remuneration of $1.46m, with the potential to double that amount in bonuses. This compares with Ms Holgate’s total remuneration last year of $1.61m, which included long-service leave and “other long-term benefits”.
Mr Graham said he felt fortunate to be joining Australia Post “at a time when we can truly capitalise on the extraordinary growth in eCommerce” in the past year.