Half of Australia Post’s $36 million profit last year went to just six executives

Australia Post managing director and Group CEO, Ahmed Fahour. Source: Australia Post

Australia Post made a $36 million profit last financial year, but its top six executives, including managing director and group CEO Ahmed Fahour, banked nearly half that amount, around $17.4 million in combined salaries, bonuses and retirement benefits last year.

Fahour’s $4.4 million salary was topped up by $1.2 million bonus in 2015-16, while another five executives were on annual pay packets between $1.3 million to $1.8 million.

Another $368,000 was paid last year in retirement benefit to the former chief operating officer, taking the total benefits to senior executives to $17.863 million.

Source: Environment and communications legislation committee

The details of senior management pay at the government-owned business were revealed yesterday, despite Australia Post asking a parliamentary committee to keep them secret to prevent “unwarranted media attention” and “brand damage”.

Disclosing the pay levels to the public “may be prejudicial to the individuals involved”, Australia Post’s company secretary said.

The company argued that publishing how much its top people are paid could lead to “brand damage for Australia Post which when operating in a competitive market, may be significantly detrimental to our business and future profitability”.

Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson, who chairs the environment and communications legislation committee, refused the company’s request for confidentiality and released the details arguing Fahour is the country’s highest paid public servant.

Last year, the median top 100 CEOs’ fixed pay was down 5.2% to $1.72 million.

While Fahour runs a $6 billion business, treasurer Scott Morrison, in charge of a federal budget of around $445 billion, takes home less than $400,000.

Total executive remuneration at Australia Post had not increased since 2014. In FY15, Australia Post had its first negative result in 30 years, losing $222 million, primarily due to the letters business ending up $381 million in the red.

Fahour has forecast cumulative losses in letters of $1.5bn over the next five years, an improvement on his previous forecast of $5bn.

The last time Australia Post published executive salaries was in the 2014-15 annual report, with Fahour paid $1.7 million, plus a $2.6 million bonus.

Paterson’s committee asked for details on executive pay late last year and the company asked for a week’s warning before any details were made public, but the request was refused.

Two years ago, the federal government changed the rules on reporting senior management salaries for commonwealth-owned businesses, which meant Australia Post no longer published the details.

The NBN Co. still publishes what it pays its top staff on a voluntary basis.

This morning Australia Post released the following statement:

The remuneration of the executive team, including the Managing Director & Group CEO, is set by the Australia Post Board.

Mr Fahour’s total remuneration package takes into account the size and complexity of the organisation, which has an annual turnover of more than $6 billion. It also reflects the large-scale transformation underway and that more than 73% of its revenue comes from the non-regulated side of the business where it is competing with major global players such as DHL, FedEx and Toll.

Mr Fahour’s remuneration in FY16 included a performance-based short-term bonus in line with Australia Post returning to profit. The previous year he did not receive a bonus.

Total executive remuneration has not increased since 2014 when the executive last received their full eligible performance bonus.

Since 2007 Australia Post has paid more than $6.3b in dividends and taxes to the Federal Government. Australia Post does not receive any taxpayer funding.