News National An issue with ‘the colour of my skin?’ Outgoing Aus Post head Ahmed Fahour hits back at Hanson
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An issue with ‘the colour of my skin?’ Outgoing Aus Post head Ahmed Fahour hits back at Hanson

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Ahmed Fahour: Australia Post's $10 million man. Photo: AAP
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Outgoing Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour has continued his war of words with One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, asking if she has “an issue with colour” of his skin.

Mr Fahour resigned on Thursday following sustained criticism over his $5.6 million salary.

His resignation from the government-owned company after eight years came on the same day Australia Post reported a massive rise in net profit.

War of words

Appearing on The Project, Mr Fahour singled out the senator by name, after a issuing a thinly-veiled dig earlier in the day by suggesting running Australia Post was “more complex” than operating a fish and chip shop.

“You know, what Senator Hanson should really work out: does she have a real issue with how Australia Post is performing or does she have an issue with the colour of my skin or my religion?” Mr Fahour told The Project.

“If it is about the business, I am more than (ready) to talk about the complexities of running a parcels online e-commerce business and what we have to do to manage a $6.5 billion turnover business and how to compete with global giants.

“If it is about an issue of how I support social inclusion in this country and how we make sure that this beautiful multicultural country we live in, to live together and appreciate each other, if the issue is about that, then no problems at all. I am happy to do that any time of the week.”

Senator Hanson has been a vocal critic of Mr Fahour’s salary and his handling of Australia Post and slammed his handling of the company on Twitter after his resignation.

She noted his resignation came a week before a senate estimates hearing on Mr Fahour’s salary.

Following Mr Fahour’s resignation, the federal government announced salaries of the size of Mr Fahour’s will not be repeated, with a renumeration tribunal to determine the pay and conditions of future Australia Post bosses.

The tribunal will require the Australia Post board to justify the future CEO’s salary is proportionate to the responsibility of the role.

Reason for quitting

On Thursday, Mr Fahour denied his departure had anything to do with the furore that developed over his salary, and that he began talking with the board last year about “life beyond” Australia Post.

“With the business now poised to start a new transformation, I believe that it is appropriate and time for me to hand over the reins as the head of Australia Post,” Mr Fahour said.

It came after Australia Post reported a hefty first-half profit with rising parcel deliveries making up for an 11 per cent downturn in letter volumes.

Australia Post hiked net profit to $131 million in the six months to December 31, from just $16 million in the prior corresponding period.

“I want to announce to you all today that I tendered my resignation to the board of Australia Post,” Mr Fahour said.

“I will continue in this role while the board conducts a search for a new CEO. I will formally step down in July, following the appointment of my successor,” he said.

“Clearly, this has been a very difficult and emotional decision for me and my family, but I have come to the conclusion that the timing is right.”

The company is undergoing a controversial transition from a traditional postal service to a parcel and e-commerce firm.

The Australia Post result came on the back of domestic parcel volumes jumping 5.7 per cent, revenue jumping 8.2 per cent to $3.5 billion and gains from business efficiency programs.

“As the half year results show, the transformation has worked. Australia Post is not just a letters and stamp business. It is today a parcels, E-commerce delivery giant,” Mr Fahour said.

Earlier, while announcing the Australia Post profit, Mr Fahour said over 70 per cent of the organisation’s revenue and 100 per cent of its profit is derived from commercial activities in parcels and e-commerce.

“This is one of the strongest first half results in recent history and it demonstrates that we are on the right path to ensuring the future of Australia Post for our people, the community and our important stakeholders.”

Australia Post’s pre-tax profit also jumped from just $1 million to $197 million in the six months to December 31.

australia post online voting
Australia Post will still send your letters but it has much more elaborate plans.

Mr Fahour said modelling shows that if the company had not changed, particularly the letters business where volumes have fallen 11 per cent, it would have accumulated losses of $2 billion and needed a bailout.

Mr Fahour said Australia Post introduced a number of innovations recently including new parcel sorting machines and automated letter sorting machines.

He said weekend and evening deliveries, and investing in global parcel and e-commerce giant Aramex, were helping the company grow market share and compete with global rivals.

 

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