Resignation of Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour is one of the great tragedies of modern Australian business

Robert Gottliebsen used to be a fairly good journalist.  Occasionally he still is.  But writing just now about Ahmed Fahour’s resignation from Australia Post, one has to wonder whether Gottleibsen has completely lost the plot:

The resignation of Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour is one of the great tragedies of modern Australian business. It reflects badly on the Prime Minister who has clearly forgotten what’s required to dominate an industry in competition against global majors and then to extend that business internationally. That was what Ahmed Fahour was doing at Australia Post.

Really.  One of the great tragedies of modern Australian business?  Or does he mean one of the great tragedies of modern Australian public service?

And to suggest that the Prime Minister has clearly forgotten “what’s required to dominate an industry in competition against global majors and then to extend that business internationally“.  FMD!

The way Australia Post has dominated its industry is through a statutory monopoly and a HUGE subsidy from tax payers – historically through cash, and nowadays by not meeting its cost of capital.

Good grief Gottleibsen.

Let’s see how much Mr Fahour retires on courtesy of the defined benefit superannuation scheme that he kindly closed shortly after joining Australia Post.

Mr Fahour has earned about $23m from Australia Post since taking the top job in 2010, and he stands to collect more millions as a member of a defined benefits pension scheme, which Mr ­Fahour shut to new entrants in 2012.

Great tragedy.  Ha!

Australia Post in competition against global majors.  Fair dinkum!

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89 Responses to Resignation of Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour is one of the great tragedies of modern Australian business

  1. Barry says:

    Yeah, he’s usually pretty good. But that was a stinker !

  2. . says:

    Global competition?

    What about the United Postal Union? It is an international cartel of state owned mail services.

  3. Infidel Tiger says:

    Bob Gob retired for 6 months and then came back to work so he could rort the superannuation loophole.

    Perhaps he drank a lot.

    Good on him.

  4. B Shaw says:

    Great tragedy. Ha! and Ha! again.

  5. Garry says:

    Glad he’s gone. Really glad!

  6. Titch says:

    Hoo bloody Ray. The only pity is that he got away with it for years, and now he is laughing all the way to the bank with his millions of $$$ in super that is basically ill gotten gain. Couldn’t have happened sooner, but the rest of the Board need to be pulled into line too. What a rort they are running.

  7. Lorraine says:

    Great tragedy indeed! It should never have been allowed to begin with. Now maybe the “board” can be drained as well, and get common sense into action.

  8. H B Bear says:

    Getting your snout into a Defined Benefits super scheme as late as 2010 is nice work. Cashing out with a $5.6m final salary (or whatever it is) is better than winning lotto. Taxpayers must really be suckers to allow this.

    If only there was a major political party committed smaller government and lower taxes.

  9. Suburban Boy says:

    According to the Oz, Fahour’s super entitlement is $4.3m. Tragic indeed.

  10. Tel says:

    Let’s see how much Mr Fahour retires on courtesy of the defined benefit superannuation scheme that he kindly closed shortly after joining Australia Post.

    Which just shows standard economic self interest, and a modicum of intelligence. If capitalism worked by depending on everyone to be a saint then it first wouldn’t work, and secondly wouldn’t be capitalism.

    I think is very unrealistic to go looking for a CEO who will get into a job just to cut their own pay. Admittedly in Japan it does happen, but there’s a much stronger sense of social conformity.

  11. OneWorldGovernment says:

    So who is Farhour going to be working with next?

  12. Big_Nambas says:

    Sounds like a lot of jealous people around this blog, there isn’t one of you who would have turned down the chance to earn his income! I will be surprised if private enterprise doesn’t snap him up for a similar salary.

  13. Zyconoclast says:

    Bob Gob retired for 6 months and then came back to work so he could rort the superannuation loophole.

    Perhaps he drank a lot.

    Good on him.

    Ahmed?
    Bob?
    For rotting the super loophole?
    Or drinking too much?

  14. stackja says:

    Big_Nambas
    #2305775, posted on February 23, 2017 at 2:42 pm
    Sounds like a lot of jealous people around this blog, there isn’t one of you who would have turned down the chance to earn his income! I will be surprised if private enterprise doesn’t snap him up for a similar salary.

    Shareholders?

  15. Zyconoclast says:

    Where will his brothers charity get its $2M from now?

    From the Australia Post charity fund?

  16. I am Spartacus says:

    I will be surprised if private enterprise doesn’t snap him up for a similar salary.

    I will be very surprised. Fahour’s 2 jobs prior to Australia Post were for quasi-government enterprises – NAB and Citibank.

    Besides. Mine was not a commentary on Fahour but rather on Gottleibsen’s claim of tragedy.

  17. Harlequin Decline says:

    Resignation of Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour is one of the great tragedies of modern Australian business my arse.

    His appointment was one of the great travesties of the modern Australian Public Service. Running a monopoly, continually jacking up prices, shit service. Why was he even being paid at all?

    And as for the Board, sack them all.

  18. Up The Workers! says:

    Ahmed the $5.6 MILLION postie, has been franked:

    “RETURN TO SENDER!”

  19. JC says:

    911, the Kennedy assassination., pearl harbour, the abdication and resignation of achmed will all be etched in our memories.

  20. BorisG says:

    quasi-government enterprises – NAB and Citibank.

    That is a bit of a stretch, especially concerning the latter.

  21. Up The Workers! says:

    Harlequin Decline, at 2:51pm asks: “…is one of the great tragedies in Australian business my arse.”

    Well, that probably depends on how much you were charging, H.D.

    Supply and demand!

  22. Myrddin Seren says:

    and then to extend that business internationally.

    OMG.

    I was only taking the piss about Bloviating Bob on the Open Forum when I suggested he was lamenting that Fahour wouldn’t enjoy a government mandate and near monopoly to crush his private sector competitors AND then take the NPN ( National Parcel Network – geddit ? That was /sarc ) to conquer the world.

    That is exactly what Bob is on about ! You can’t make this stuff up anymore – the reality is too far fetched !

    #RetireBobNow

    #AndTakePaulKellywithYou

  23. meher baba says:

    You can be sure that Mr Fahour’s salary would have been agreed by the Australia Post Board on the basis of a confidential report from “remuneration consultants.” This sort of thing is by no means confined to Government “Business Enterprises” like Australia Post, it’s also a plague throughout the private sector in Australia.

    The idea is to put the veneer of objectivity onto the clubbish behaviour of people on boards and in CEO roles (where there is, of course, a lot of overlap) in giving themselves ever-widening helpings from the trough, on the tab of shareholders, taxpayers, etc.

    That said, there is now far more scrutiny of these private sector remuneration decisions than there has been for the public sector since the Abbott Government’s decision to remove public reporting requirements for GBE executive salaries in the name of “cutting red tape”.

    There can be no possible rationale for the head of a GBE – which by definition will typically have a certain amount of protection from competition – receiving the level of remuneration that Fahour enjoyed.

  24. dweezy2176 says:

    before the last “great change” I was used to the postie 5 days a week between 9.30/9.45 am after the GC he seems to have dwindled to once a week (no set day) & around 4.00 pm … regardless of who comes in or what they are paid I’m sure deliveries won’t be going back to before GC ..!

  25. Rayvic says:

    Did not Australia Post recently shoot itself in the foot by encouraging more rapid switching from letter post to email, by jacking up letter postal rates by over 40% ? Was this not done under Mr Fahour’s watch?

  26. Pickles says:

    The (so far) untold story is how Little Lord Achmed convinced the board that he needed all his old banky mates to help him. All at salaries nearly commensurate with his. A big heap of them in on the drink.
    He’s laughing all the way to the Mosque.

  27. Razor says:

    I am “Gob..smacked”. A greater faux news commentary outside of the Wapo that I have ever seen. Gob also needs to re-retire. His grey matter is out to lunch – a very long lunch.

  28. Baldrick says:

    Before you all start applauding, remember his replacement will be approved by the Stupid.Fucking.Liberal.Party .

  29. A Lurker says:

    I suspect that deliveries with Cobb and Co were faster, more efficient (and probably cheaper too) than Australia Post services under CEO Ahmed Fahour

  30. BorisG says:

    There can be no possible rationale for the head of a GBE – which by definition will typically have a certain amount of protection from competition – receiving the level of remuneration that Fahour enjoyed.

    I agree. especially if it is not directly linked to company performance.

  31. The Deplorable Barking Toad says:

    7 years in the job, cashed-out salary package on resignation, over 4 mill in super in a defined benefit scheme – FFS!

    Will probably donate the cashed-out package to the family “charity” and they’ll later pay it to him as salary.

  32. hzhousewife says:

    He’s laughing all the way to the Mosque.

    In fact, now he’ll be able to build a bigger mosque.

  33. Delta A says:

    Mr Fahour has earned about $23m from Australia Post since taking the top job in 2010

    Obscene!

  34. Habib says:

    Any actual liberal government would’ve sold off this incompetent anachronism for whatever they could get for it years ago. Then no-one would give a shit what the boss was paid, as it’d either have to fix its game, or go broke very quickly. When I order shit online now I have serious 2nd thoughts if Aust Post are the carriers, it’ll take a week to get here from the other side of town, and they mostly won’t even bother trying to deliver it and I’ll have to traipse over the the mail centre to pick it up, on the odd times they’re open.

    A perfect example of a government-provided “service”. Toll and their kind are quite rightly eating them alive.

  35. Siltstone says:

    What sort of politically correct replacement will they dream up?

  36. Baldrick says:

    Keysar Trad’s at a loose end.

  37. Habib says:

    Sounds like a lot of jealous people around this blog, there isn’t one of you who would have turned down the chance to earn his income! I will be surprised if private enterprise doesn’t snap him up for a similar salary. We wouldn’t give a shit if we weren’t paying it. And he clearly wasn’t earning it, given the pathetic performanceof Aust Post in every measure. A perfect example of everything that’s wrong with this country, and no-one shows the slightest interest in fixing it. If performance is a criteria, he’ll be flat out getting a gig in the real world asking if one wishes fries with one’s order.

  38. I am Spartacus says:

    What sort of politically correct replacement will they dream up?

    Gottleibsen for AusPost CEO.

  39. KaaBee says:

    A week for a letter to be delivered from an adjoining suburb in Melbourne: lets hope the new MD can better that.

  40. the sting says:

    A Lurker. Yes ! Postal deliveries from Melbourne into southern NSW to places such as Deniliquin and Hay were in fact quicker by Cobb and Co. than today.

  41. Rabz says:

    Resignation of Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour is one of the great tragedies of modern Australian business

    In much the same way that the resignation of labor leader Kevin Rudd was one of the great tragedies of modern Australian politics.

  42. Dr Fred Lenin says:

    Hold the job for malcolm , he can take over after his defeat by the socialist left left centre left wing of the national green laboral party in the next election and comrade wossisname takes over , malcolm would vmbe good at running a money losing monopoly into the ground , he did it with the former liberal party .

  43. Tim Neilson says:

    Mr Fahour has earned about $23m from Australia Post since taking the top job in 2010
    “Earned”? Is this some dialect I haven’t come across before?

  44. Dr Faustus says:

    When I order shit online now I have serious 2nd thoughts if Aust Post are the carriers, it’ll take a week to get here from the other side of town, and they mostly won’t even bother trying to deliver it and I’ll have to traipse over the the mail centre to pick it up, on the odd times they’re open.

    Yes.

    AusPost appears to compete on price (for smaller packages), certainly not on speed of delivery, or service to the recipient. Anything coming from the US/UK via DHL Express, TNT, or UPS is here in 4 or 5 days (including weekends). Australia Post two weeks.

    I guess competing on price rather than operating performance is a compelling strategy when you are working with public capital and have the CEPU to satisfy.

  45. JohnA says:

    Zyconoclast #2305783, posted on February 23, 2017, at 2:48 pm

    Where will his brothers charity get its $2M from now?

    From the Australia Post charity fund?

    Nah, stick to the facts. What he does with “his money” after the pay deal has been struck is not our legitimate concern here. It may be a concern to those who oppose the protection of a 1400-year-old ideology, though.

  46. Rabz says:

    “Earned”? Is this some dialect I haven’t come across before?

    “Absorbed” might be a more fitting descriptor.

  47. Diogenes says:

    A Lurker. Yes ! Postal deliveries from Melbourne into southern NSW to places such as Deniliquin and Hay were in fact quicker by Cobb and Co. than today.

    Its even slower than in roman times. It took a letter posted at South Tweed Heads 11 days to reach me here on the beautiful central coast (distance @ 900km) according to wiki

    This is calculated by A. M. Ramsey[9] in the following way: “It appears from the Jerusalem Itinerary that the mansiones, or night quarters on the roads, were about twenty-five [Roman] miles [23 mi or 37 km] apart, and, as Friedlander points out, the distance between Bethlehem and Alexandria (about 400 Roman miles [368 mi or 592 km]) was reckoned to be sixteen mansiones, that between Edessa and Jerusalem (by Antioch nearly 625 [Roman] miles [574 mi or 924 km]) twenty-five mansiones. Although no Itinerary gives a complete list of mutationes and mansiones for any road, the general rule seems to have been two mutationes between each two mansiones. This would make the ‘stage’ about eight and a third Roman miles [7.7 mi or 12.4 km].” Therefore, the typical trip was made at the rate of 41 to 64 miles (66–103 km) per day.

  48. JohnA says:

    meher baba #2305825, posted on February 23, 2017, at 3:27 pm


    There can be no possible rationale for the head of a GBE – which by definition will typically have a certain amount of protection from competition – receiving the level of remuneration that Fahour enjoyed.

    Government is not supposed to be in Business, so “GBE = Government Business Enterprise” is an oxymoron of the worst kind. Classic conflict of interest, since it is the regulator of business.

  49. Adam says:

    I thought Gottliebsen had jumped the shark last week with his ridiculous article on this turd of a CEO but he’s gone one better with this ‘great tragedy of modern business’ malarkey. Talk about confusing private enterprise with the public service. Astonishing.

  50. Pat Warnock says:

    Would he not just take a pay cut?

  51. Tel says:

    Would he not just take a pay cut?

    That would be admitting he was paid too much in the first place.

  52. RobK says:

    He is no longer doing it for the money. He no longer doing it but still getting money.

  53. King Koala says:

    Sounds like a lot of jealous people around this blog, there isn’t one of you who would have turned down the chance to earn his income!

    Or maybe some of us have too much conscience to steal 23 million from taxpayers.

  54. Up The Workers! says:

    Ahmed the Postie…lost in the mail.

    Looks like his brother will have to hold the beggars’ bowl out to somebody else to fund his Muslim Museum, in future.

    Lindt Chocolates has plenty of cash, I hear.

  55. King Koala says:

    Looks like his brother will have to hold the beggars’ bowl out to somebody else to fund his Muslim Museum, in future.

    Every time you buy something halal certified you are helping to fund the islamisation of Australia.

  56. Hydra says:

    Hey guys, I found a way to cut the budget.

    Not appoint a new AP CEO.

  57. Hydra says:

    Or might send in my resume and offer to do it for around $300k

  58. Tel says:

    Or maybe some of us have too much conscience to steal 23 million from taxpayers.

    I wouldn’t even be able to keep a straight face whilst asking.

    Now I think of it, that’s probably what’s been holding me back… I should practice in front of the bathroom mirror or something.

  59. Suburban Boy says:

    It’s a shame Ahmed is no longer on the board of Melbourne’s MLC (Methodist Ladies’ College), where presumably he was dedicated to ensuring our impressionable adolescents were taught that Jesus is their personal Saviour.

  60. None says:

    Gottliebsen clearly off his medication.

  61. egg_ says:

    Ahmed the Postie…lost in the mail.

    Mail model?
    The very model of the modern Post Master General?

  62. Sydney Boy says:

    Ahmed just went full SJW on The Project and called Hanson a racist.

  63. Linden says:

    well hate him or love him one thing is undeniable, Aust Post and once again either love it or hate it, is in a far better financial state than many other Postal institutions around the world, have a look at UPS $billions in debt a few years ago sacked 110,000 workers, Canada Post $billions in debt and has only a 3 day a week service, that right 3 days, as is New Zealand going the same. Every postal service world wide is struggling with speed of technology that has changed so much, world wide, letters volumes have simply plummeted, how may many have you written lately and posted off to a friend rely? For all the contempt about his pay packet, there has been some good changes, I have stood behind the counter of a privately owned post office for best part of a decade and seen these changes occur, yeah sure there are problems, but Aust Post is no different from any other ‘transport company’ in the respect that how do you attract good intelligent drivers into the company. Ask any boss of a transport company what is the biggest issue for them and you will get much the same answer, it is ‘people’. Would you encourage your son or daughter to get into the parcel courier business? I doubt it, why do you think that every major company world wide will try and get rid of many staff as possible and when they do, why do the share price of the company suddenly goes up! It seems to be in Australia that any company that actually become successful, is to be considered very bad and should be pulled down to the lowest common denominator. That’s why these dumb asrs shows on TV rate so well. Well that’s by 2bobs worth as the old saying goes.

  64. Crossie says:

    Gottliebsen, one elitist, defending Fahour, another elitist, while bringing into disrepute business, government and the media. So many birds with just one stone.

  65. egg_ says:

    Ahmed just went full SJW on The Project and called Hanson a racist.

    Dufus.

  66. Crossie says:

    Ahmed just went full SJW on The Project and called Hanson a racist.

    Now that his taxpayer funded gravy train is secure he can let his hair down.

  67. rickw says:

    Might impede muzzie postal worker illegal weapon imports a bit.

  68. Tel says:

    Ahmed just went full SJW on The Project and called Hanson a racist.

    Didn’t realize that the ABC had access to that kind of money.

  69. Linden says:

    Yeah and I know which post office that happened with, although it is probably common knowledge these days, lol

  70. Hugh says:

    In the High Middle Ages (ie around 1200AD), not only the post, but the canon law system was far more efficient than today.

    My history lecturer once gave an example of two monasteries in England disputing over a piece of land. The time between the documents of the dispute being sent from the monasteries to Rome and the decision eventually coming back from to England was less than 6 weeks!

  71. Barry 1963 says:

    Mr Fahour brought in billions to the Australian government while postal services overseas were awash in red ink. I think with some Muslim haters, Muslims can never win. Run a huge business profitably for the benefit of the nation, be a role model for the community, and you still have people like Hanson throw barbs. She has taken far more public money than Mr Fahour (he was not paid out of consolidated revenue).

  72. mem says:

    My local Aust Post franchise is run by a very competent and well liked family of recent Australian citizenship who are very glad to have a business to run. I suspect that if one delved into the AP management and its financial records relating to franchises you might find a great deal that doesn’t pass the pub test, let alone corporate financial requirements. The light glimmered on his salary for only a moment, but he has resigned without dispute, I wonder what else a good financial probe might reveal at AP. Keep probing, there will be a lot more behind the scenes !

  73. Mr Fahour brought in billions to the Australian government while postal services overseas were awash in red ink.

    by taking business away from private enterprise. stealth communism.

  74. Robber Baron says:

    Australia Post is a monopoly. It can set whatever price it wants. How does the Minister for Communications not get mentioned once in this whole thread? This is a testament to Mitch Fifield’s political skills and ambivalence towards taxpayer money.

    Australia is poorly represented by its politicians and its bureaucrats. The Fahour’s of the world just take advantage of it.

    If this existed in the private sector, no one would care. But I doubt this would exist in the private sector under free-market capitalism. The case for limited government just keeps presenting itself.

  75. Mundi says:

    The Australia’s post defined benefit scen scheme is nothing to write home about.

    It was over funded by nearly a billion when Ahmed started, because it makes more money investing than the defined amounts accumulate at.

    This is because most people in post are in dead end jobs, so they get 14.3% x salary x service years. This actual works out less than typical 9.25% of wages compounding at 6% to 10% pa one you pass about 10 years service.

    However for the uni encourages all their plebs to be in the scheme, because the union big wigs are always given plump jobs on the super board.

  76. . says:

    The postal letter service is also protected, competition must price at least 4 times higher than the AP rate.

    $4 for a letter – no one can compete with $1 for a letter.

  77. Hugh says:

    Sorry, Tony: for all your fine rhetoric here, those words “Team Australia” keep ringing in my ears.

  78. EB says:

    He’s clearly friends with Fahour or at least a sycophant. That’s at the heart of most of his columns.

    The amount of times he bleats on behalf of high rise Harry is embarrassing.

  79. T29E says:

    I posted an ordinary letter at a rural QLD post office on 5 JAN. It was delivered yesterday 22 FEB.
    Ripper!

    As a lad we had two deliveries in Brisbane week days and one on Saturday morning. Stamps for letters were 1d; if we sealed the envelope 2d

  80. Crossie says:

    Australia is poorly represented by its politicians and its bureaucrats. The Fahour’s of the world just take advantage of it.

    How can it be otherwise when most of them are either former union officials or lawyers, mainchancers all who aspire to what Fahour pulled off.

  81. Rossini says:

    Will the next CEO’s salary be comparable on a world wide basis or just another Aussie special?

  82. Sparkx says:

    And now poor Princess Fahour screams waacism because Pauline Hanson had a twitter dig about postal delays. FMD.

  83. Fess says:

    Fahour leaves with $4.3million in his defined benefit super according to The Australian after just seven years in the job. We mortals in private enterprise have to pay the maximum concessional contribution for 172 years to equal that in our private super funds.

  84. Up The Workers! says:

    The very title of this thread says it all, really:

    “Resignation of Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour is one of the great tragedies of modern Australian business”

    Just like Australia Post itself…it cost too much and it came too late!

  85. Up The Workers! says:

    Now that we know that Ahmed the Postie trousered some $23 MILLION from the Australian taxpayer in his unearned salary over the term of his Labor appointment, that should give Pauline Hanson a guide for how high to aim her defamation case, if she wants to dabble in litigation over Ahmed’s comments on the Allah’s Local Party Propaganda channel last night.

    Go for it Pauline – you might even have enough cash left out of the settlement, to fully fund an “Australian Fish and Chip Shop Museum”!

    Ahmed the Postie disingenuously claimed that Hanson ‘doesn’t like him’ because of his “skin colour”.

    That’s funny…Pauline Hanson, along with every other Australian taxpayer, had at least 5.6 MILLION very valid reasons for not being happy with Ahmeds’ performance – and his “skin colour” was certainly never one of them!

    My own postie is black and female, and she actually does a good job in delivering mail – something Ahmed, despite his monstrous salary, has never once done, and she is on nowhere near HIS salary.

  86. Yohan says:

    Robert Gottliebsen has been railing against any policy or narrative right of center for years now. When was he a good journalist? In the 90’s?

  87. Linden says:

    That’s not right, post stamps price is set by approval of the ACCC firstly and secondly needs to pass approval by he federal government, Aust Post puts up its case for a rise,it cannot arbitrially put the price of stamps, but it can set all other prices for other things.

  88. hzhousewife says:

    In order to get a guaranteed delivery overnight from the country area where I live, to either Melbourne or Sydney, one can’t just post a letter, one must post an Express bag, which I assume they now categorize as a parcel. Last time I had to send documents it was $13.50 overnight. No wonder they made millions in profit.

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