Pay of new Australian postal service boss more than halved

By ROD McGUIRK Markets Associated Press

The new boss of Australia's postal service will be paid less than half the 5.6 million Australian dollar ($4.3 million) salary package that made her predecessor Australia's highest-paid public servant.

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Christine Holgate was named as the new managing director and chief executive officer of Australia Post on a salary of AU$1,375 000 plus a performance pay of up to the same amount, a government statement said Tuesday.

Her predecessor Ahmed Fahour announced in February he would quit the government-owned corporation, two weeks after his pay was made public by a Senate committee and sparked a political furor.

Holgate has been chief executive of Blackmores Group, the Australian manufacturer of vitamins and dietary supplements, since 2008, and in 2015 was named Australia's CEO of the Year by the Melbourne-based CEO Institute.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who complained that Fahour had been paid too much, welcomed Holgate's appointment.

"It is a great Australian and a great hire," Turnbull told Melbourne RadioTriple M, before Holgate was officially named.

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Her pay raises will be decided by the Remuneration Tribunal, the same independent statutory authority that sets the pay for federal lawmakers, judges and senior bureaucrats. Fahour's pay had been decided by Australia Post's board of directors.

The tribunal has awarded Turnbull an AU$10,350 pay rise which will take his salary next week to AU$527, 854.

Fahour leaves Australia Post on July 28. Holgate take up her appointment in October, after leaving Blackmores on Sept. 29.

The highest-paid Australian public servant after Fahour was Bill Morrow, chief executive of Australia's government-owned NBN Co., who was paid AU$3.6 million last year, including an AU$1.2 million bonus. NBN is rolling out Australia's national broadband network.

By contrast, U.S. Postal Service Chief Executive and Postmaster General Megan Brennan's salary was $286,137 last year.