Christine Holgate has resigned as Australia Post CEO as the luxury watch investigation continues

Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate has resigned. (Peter Rae, SMH)
  • Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate has resigned on Monday after becoming the target of an investigation into company spending.
  • “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,” Holgate said.
  • It comes after it was revealed luxury Cartier watches were purchased for staff at a cost of nearly $20,000.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Time is up for Christine Holgate as Australia’s highest-paid civil servant.

The embattled CEO announced her resignation from Australia Post on Monday afternoon after being stood aside amid a company investigation.

“I have offered today the Chairman and Board of Australia Post, with great sadness, my resignation as chief executive with immediate effect,” Holgate said in a statement.

“I firmly believe the ship needs a strong captain at the helm to help navigate through this time. 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.”

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

Holgate confirmed she was not “seeking any financial compensation”.

It comes just two weeks after an explosive Senate estimates hearing revealed $12,000 had been spent on four Cartier watches. Australia Post chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo later testified the cost was closer to $20,000.

The timepieces were given to staff in 2018 as a reward for completing a deal with some of Australia’s biggest banks to offer their services at Australia Post offices.

“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,” Holgate said on Monday.

However, frivolous spending had not been limited to jewellery.

It had previously been revealed that Holgate had spent $300,000 on corporate credit cards, including paying for a chauffeur-driven car for 12 months.

There was also the matter of the $119,000 spent on management firm Domestique for just 38 days work.

While Australia Post runs as a business, it is wholly owned by the federal government, casting such spending in an uncomfortable light.

“I will make myself readily available to participate in the investigation of this matter and any other issues of possible concern,” Holgate said on Monday.

In commentating on the Cartier revelations at the time, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “appalled and shocked”.

“[Holgate] has been instructed to stand aside. If she doesn’t wish to do that, she can go,” Morrison said.

It now appears she has opted to do the latter.

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