Holgate Hell

Resignation of Australia Post CEO is sad 3 November 2020

At least the print media couldn’t come up with a quirky name when Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate got into trouble for rewarding executives.

They had used Dangate as the cute phrase for Victorian premier Daniel Andrews’s problems but Holgate was a name in itself. Blessed relief from the Australian way of latching onto a good idea and sticking to it. No originality to see here.

Yesterday Christine Holgate resigned citing the fact that her decision to give Cartier watches valued at just less than $20,000 to four executives who had negotiated a lucrative contract with three major banks was a bad look.

HAPPIER: CHRISTINE HOLGATE

The negotiated deal kept Australia Post relevant and profitable.

What we read of the apology in her resignation is what appears to be an indefatigable executive surrendering to the pandering of the mob.

She failed “the pub test” – another cliché beloved of the media – but who the hell goes to a pub these days? Have blokes in high-vis drinking pots and schooners served by a skimpy barmaid become the litmus test of what the general public thinks?

Ms Holgate’s apology was almost a kowtow, “showing servile deference” to those who had criticised her, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Federal parliament. The PM went populist. I wonder if he would be so angry at being challenged by a transgression made by Alan Joyce or the CEO of Rio Tinto?

Okay Australia Post has a link to government but Morrison jumped on the bandwagon a little too quickly for my liking.

I have no idea if this is Holgate’s usual manner but I would doubt it. Someone has given her sound advice in the modern world of politics, business and life. Grovel and they will let you back in almost immediately. Fight them and the wave of opinion will see you finished in any form of public life. How sad.

Have we come to this? You can’t say what you really feel because the media, their followers, the public with rarely an original opinion and opportunist politicians will condemn you.

Holgate’s photos in the newspaper show an attractive woman with a slightly hard expression. Fight back and she would become the Lindy Chamberlain of our times; the Myra Hindley of another generation. One innocent, one guilty but both condemned by the masses by their look in the stock photos newspapers ran as much as what they had been accused of. Schapelle Corby and Renae Lawrence. One pretty, one rather plain: both guilty. Yet many in the public sided with Corby. She’s now on TV for God’s sake!

There are a lot of intelligent people out there who are reluctant to give an opinion these days. Who wants to venture a differing opinion about same-sex marriage, climate change, Donald Trump even at a dinner table among friends? I confess to running chicken on this (Is that offensive to poultry?)

Many have extreme positions and I am afraid the leftist views have become too shrill for my poor backbone to stand up against. Channelling Frank Sinatra, I quietly say “living well is the best revenge” and let them get on with it.

But where is the feminista? Australian boards and management have a lopsided male to female ratio. Here is a chief executive officer who is not only talented but runs a profitable ship out of a dying business.

Women’s groups come out strongly in many cases but have they had much to say here?

With emails and the like, posting letters and documents has become so outdated it should be in the same bin as flares yet Australia Post is a thriving industry thanks to deals done under Holgate and her predecessor Ahmed Fahrour. He had to resign when it was revealed he was to be paid huge performance bonuses. According to Robert Gottliebsen in The Australian these bonuses were set by politicians or government bureaucrats with no one expecting the targets to be reached. Fahrour busted them and they had to pay.

He was pilloried for being a success.

Same as Holgate.

Today’s The Australian says former Virgin chief executive Paul Scurrah is top of the list to replace Holgate.

Great! Force a winner out the door and promote an executive whose last gig was to manage a floundering company in a market place where the whole world was flying more than ever.

My reasoning is probably naiive but Richmond aren’t forcing out Damien Hardwick and replacing him with…. well any number of unsuccessful AFL coaches of recent years.

The whole thing stinks!

As for Holgate, her actions have given her a chance to have a future career. It is just so sad she had to grovel to people of less ability than herself – us – to make that future.     

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