Australia Post Seeking New E-Commerce Leader

Ahmed Fahour tendered his resignation at a board meeting last Thursday, having served as managing director and CEO for five years at Australia Post, since February 2010. But his actual resignation letter actually arrived via mail!

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

“Clearly, this has been a very difficult, and emotional decision for me and my family, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the timing is right. As the half year results show, the transformation has worked. Australia Post is not just a letters consensus. It is today a parcels e-commerce delivery giant.”

The board will begin the search for a new CEO immediately, and will consider both internal and external candidates, and are expecting to announce Fahour’s successor in the coming months.

Mr John Stanhope, chairman of the Australia Post board, said that Fahour’s legacy as CEO will be felt at the company for many years to come.

“By any measure, Ahmed has done an astounding job in transforming the business,” said Stanhope. “When he started, he was set the challenge to ‘write the next chapter in the history of Australia Post – and he certainly rose to that challenge.”

Stanhope went on to add that Fahour was appointed at a time when Australia Post was still highly dependent on revenue from the letters service, but the community’s use of letters had already peaked and was in the early stages of decline. “He led the team that developed an entirely new strategy focused on investing in the parcels and e-commerce business. It was the right strategy. It has put Australia Post on a pathway to a sustainable future and avoiding a taxpayer bailout,.”

The company says its now looking for a new frontrunner for the role of CEO. “Now, with the business entering the next phase of its transformation, Ahmed’s decision to resign provides opportunity for a new leader to continue the development of Australia Post into a leading international e-commerce player.”

Under the guidance of Fahour, Australia Post has invested in its parcels and e-commerce business. The investments in this area under his leadership includes:

  • Investing in and forming an international e-commerce alliance with Aramex.
  • Acquiring the remaining half of StarTrack from its joint venture partner Qantas;
  • Doubling the capacity of its Melbourne and Sydney parcels centres;
  • Installing 24/7 parcel lockers at 264 sites across Australia, and partnering with Woolworths to install a further 500 sites, to make parcel collection more convenient for Australians;
  • Building the innovative MyPost platform to enable Australians to register their delivery preferences online.

As a result of these investments, Australia Post’s revenue and profits from the parcels business has more than doubled during Fahour’s tenure.

Fahour’s other achievements includes the successful reform of the letters service. Since peaking in 2008, the amount of letters delivered, per letterbox in Australia, has halved.

In response to growing losses, Fahour developed and implemented a letters reform package that included introducing a new two-speed service. The package allowed Australia Post to invest in its Post Office network, including supporting its many licensees, as well as maintaining daily delivery and a discount 60c postage stamp for concession holders.

“Without those reforms, the losses from the letters service would have overwhelmed the business, and, ultimately, it would have crippled our ability to maintain services in communities across Australia,” said Stanhope.

By remaining a self-funded business, taxpayers avoided a potential $6.7 billion bailout over the next decade, according to Australia Post. Instead, the company says it has received no taxpayer money, but delivered to government over $4 billon in dividends, taxes and CSO funding in the past seven years.

“As well, we have been able to support our people through dramatic change. Almost 10,000 staff have now been retrained and redeployed into new roles through our Post People First Program.”

Australia Post also announced a $197 million half year profit before tax last week, which follows the organisation returning to profit in 2016. This result included the postal business breaking even and the parcels business increasing market share and lifting profits by 16 percent.

“Australia Post’s strong half year net profit confirmed, on the back of last year’s return to profit for the full year, I want to announce to you today, that I tendered my resignation to the board of Australia Post. 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.”


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