Australia Post CEO, Ahmed Fahour, has resigned from his position just weeks after his nearly $6 million salary was revealed and receiving criticism for it’s high amount, as it has been reported that he received $4.4 million in short-term employee benefits and a $1.2 million bonus.
While Mr Fahour insists his resignation has nothing to do with his high salary, it does beg the question of how a public servant’s paycheque got that high considering a graduate working in the public service earns $63,742 per year and a department head earns $673,000 per year—significantly less than Mr Fahour’s reported salary—and why he is resigning, if not for the scandal surrounding his reported earnings.
During the press conference where Mr Fahour announced his resignation, he went on to say he “…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".
In the same press conference, he went on to say that, “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” and told the Herald Sun that, “The main reason why I am hanging up the footy boots at Australia Post is I’ve done seven years in this job — the average CEO in this country is lasting around three years. Seven years is a long time … particularly as it is a 24-7 job”.
Mr Fahour’s decision to resign also comes after he received criticism from several members of parliament, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who has said, “I know it's a big job, it's a big company. I know the company has been able to improve its position but… as someone who spent most of his life in the business world before I came into politics, I think that is a very big salary for that job”.
One-nation leader Pauline Hanson also commented on his high salary saying that his $5.6 million paycheque is “…. unjustified, atrocious, and disgusting to think that taxpayers are paying that”, especially considering, “Post offices in the bush are shutting down. They are struggling to survive…”.
After Hanson made these comments, Fahour came back, commenting on Twitter, that his positions is “…a little bit more complicated than running a fish and chip shop".
And while Hanson’s criticism of Fahour could have ended there, it did not. After Fahour made a jibe at Hanson’s job in a fish and chip shop, she then hit back on Twitter, saying: “Ahmed Fahour quits. Says running Australia Post harder than owning a fish & chip shop. At least my shop never suffered a $221 MILLION loss!”
Continuing with: “I wonder if Australia Post is still waiting for Ahmed Fahour’s resignation letter to arrive in the mail? ”.
And finishing with: “The difference between my fish & chip shop & Ahmed Fahour’s Australia Post? My customers didn’t have to wait 3-6 business days for their meal!”
But regardless of his reasons for leaving and what did or did not influence the decision, perhaps this will serve as a lesson for how much is too much for high- ranking public servants should receive in salary when others in, albeit, lower positions earn less but perhaps more appropriate wages.