The Intelligent Investor Growth Fund is listing on the ASX. Initial Offer now open

Postal returns have scaled new heights

Move aside Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens. There is another public servant who punches even further beyond his weight when compared with his international peers.

Move aside Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens. There is another public servant who punches even further beyond his weight when compared with his international peers.

Stevens's $1.08 million pay package now appears relatively modest compared with the $2.89 million the Australia Post chief executive, Ahmed Fahour, collected in the year to June 30.

Fahour's package included $1.39 million in base pay, $874,200 in short-term bonuses, $192,622 in superannuation and $242,833 in deferred bonus payments.

The extra cherry on top towards the end of the financial year was the pay rise Fahour was awarded on June 22, which saw his fixed remuneration jump 21 per cent to $1.9 million.

Stevens may get paid about four times more than the US Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, but Fahour gets more than 10 times his US equivalent.

The US postmaster general, Patrick Donahoe, is paid $US276,000 a year . The US Postal Service handles about 170 billion items of mail each year compared with Australia Post's 5.5 billion.


The only postal employee who appears to get paid more than Fahour is the chief executive of the privatised Deutsche Post, Frank Appel, who took home ?2.96 million ($4 million) in 2010.

The Bonn-headquartered Deutsche Post, which owns the global logistics giant DHL, posted a ?2.63 billion net profit last year, compared with the $241.2 million full year net profit Australia Post announced on Wednesday.

The chief executive of Britain's Royal Mail, Moya Greene, was paid #777,611 ($1.19 million) in base pay and bonuses last financial year.

The head of Canada Post, Deepak Chopra, (not to be confused with the public speaker on spiritual issues) gets about $500,000 a year.

The head of the privatised Dutch postal service, Harry Koorstra, was paid ?1.49 million last year.


It seems the Reserve Bank reckons the term concocted by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to describe unforeseen and freakish events is not the best concept on which to test financial stability.

"You can't imagine scenarios that are by definition unimaginable," the RBA's head of financial stability, Luci Ellis, said about the term Black Swan.

Ellis suggested that rather than looking for the "unimaginable black swan", financial market watchers could observe "attitudes and behaviours" that could distort markets and lead to further crises.

At least Ellis picked a far more freakish (to European eyes) Australian creature than a black swan to describe her new test.

"You see, when Europeans first saw a black swan, it would have been a surprise, but I doubt it rocked their world," she told yesterday's annual conference at the University of Technology, Sydney's Paul Woolley centre for capital market dysfunctionality.

"There are plenty of other cases where the same species of animal is a different colour in different regions. But the platypus is strange. It is a mammal, but it has a duck's bill it is the only mammal with venomous spurs it lays eggs and it is a monotreme.

"When European scientists first saw the stuffed body of a platypus, they found it so bizarre that they thought it was a fake."

Ellis said it was behaviour that appeared "too ridiculous to be true, and yet it is true" that policymakers needed to be alert to.

"When you have that feeling, you are having what I have come to describe as a Platypus Moment."


CommBank chairman David Turner appears to be more fixated on the first Tuesday of November than the most diehard punter. Asked if he thought the Gillard government was anti-business, Turner told a lunch yesterday: "As far as the government is concerned, in four weeks' time we'll be past the next Melbourne Cup.

"I think [then] I will be able to say with confidence that we've had no problems at all with anybody ... in terms of what they might say about the banking community, interest rates or anything else."

Last Melbourne Cup, Commonwealth Bank raised its mortgage rates 20 basis points above the RBA's official lift in rates.

Got a tip? Use our online tips box or email

Twitter: @srochfort

Join the Conversation...

There are comments posted so far.

If you'd like to join this conversation, please login or sign up here

Related Articles