Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate resigns amid watch saga

The announcement follows a review into why four employees were given Cartier watches

Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate resigns amid watch saga

After three years as chief executive and managing director of Australia Post, Christine Holgate has announced that she will resign with ‘immediate effect’.

The resignation follows an investigation into why four senior employees were given $3,000 Cartier watches as a ‘thank you’ for working to secure a deal with three of the major banks in 2018.

The revelation prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to announce that he was “appalled, it’s disgraceful and it’s not on”, while communications minister Paul Fletcher confirmed that Holgate would stand aside during a four-week investigation.

In a statement, Holgate said the investigation was impacting her health and the ability of Australia Post to function properly.

"The current issue I am managing is a significant distraction and I do not believe it is good for either Australia Post or my own personal wellbeing," she said.

"Consequently, I have made the difficult decision to resign, hoping it will allow the organisation to fully focus on serving our customers.

"I deeply regret that a decision made two years ago, which was supported by the chair, to recognise the outstanding work of four employees has caused so much debate and distraction and I appreciate the optics of the gifts involved do not pass the 'pub test' for many."

Read more: How Australia Post is building a diverse workforce

HRD contacted Australia Post for comment. In a statement, Australia Post chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo said Holgate has indicated her willingness to participate in the recently announced Shareholder Departments investigation into aspects of Australia Post expenditure.

“The Board and management are providing full cooperation and assistance to this Review,” said Di Bartolomeo.

“Christine has held the role of group chief executive officer and managing director since October 2017 and while noting the current Review, I would like to acknowledge and recognise the significant contributions she has made during her tenure.”

Read more: Australia Post hiring hundreds to meet delivery demand

Di Bartolomeo added that the acting group CEO and managing director Rodney Boys leads a strong, experienced, executive leadership team.

“We thank all of our workforce for their ongoing commitment and all our customers for their support,” he said.

“During the last three years, Australia Post has reported significant growth as it continued to innovate and transform its operations and structures to best deliver for Australian communities and customers.

“This has been one of the toughest years in Australia Post’s history and the Board acknowledges the extraordinary efforts made across the organisation to meet the challenges of COVID-19.”

Federal finance minister Simon Birmingham and communications minister Paul Fletcher issued a joint statement of appreciation for Holgate’s service.

It said Holgate had confirmed she was available to "assist the investigation into Australia Post's governance arrangements and corporate culture concerning the proper use and management of public resources".

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