Woolworths supply chain boss Paul Graham will be the next Australia Post CEO

Woolworths supply chain boss Paul Graham has been named as the incoming CEO of Australia Post.
  • Paul Graham, the supply chain boss at Woolworths, will become Australia Post CEO in September.
  • The announcement comes just one day before his predecessor Christine Holgate will testify to a Senate Inquiry examining the circumstances surrounding her dismissal back in November.
  • Australia Post is looking to put some distance between it and the dismissal, after Holgate slammed chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo in a 151-page submission just last week.
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One of the heads of Australia’s largest supermarket chain will take the reins of the national postal service, as it seeks to put an end to its executive tumult.

On Monday, Woolworths chief supply chain officer Paul Graham was named as the new Australia Post CEO and managing director, five months after the government-owned business sacked his predecessor, Christine Holgate.

Chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo, Holgate’s former boss and now adversary, called Graham “an outstanding candidate with strong logistics, digital and retail experience both here and overseas”, having served previously as a senior executive at multinational courier Deutsche Post.

Graham’s appointment comes one week after Holgate unleashed a scathing 151-page criticism of her dismissal, and especially of Di Bartolomeo.

Holgate was removed from her post after it was revealed the business spent $20,000 on luxury Cartier watches for four employees. While she maintains the incentive was justified, with precedent and consistent with spending restrictions, Holgate claims she was “treated like a criminal by my own Chairman, but I had committed no crime.”

She’s now due to appear before the Senate Inquiry examining her removal on Tuesday, after an independent review cleared her of any illegality.

Graham will come into the role in September, with acting CEO Rodney Boys to serve until then.

“I have been so privileged to run Woolworths’s supply chain for the past five years and it has shown me how important it is to keep our customers at the centre of everything we do – without our customers we don’t have a business,” Graham said on Monday.

He will come into the role painfully aware that the last two incumbents were removed following acute political pressure over spending at the postal service. Ahmed Fahour, Holgate’s predecessor, stepped down following public outrage over his outsized $6.8 million pay packet.

Graham won’t have to worry about that, at least. He’ll be paid the same reduced salary Holgate received: $1.45 million, with the potential to double that should he meet all of his targets.

When he begins though, he may be a touch more preoccupied with simply surviving in the job.