Australia Post is poised to launch a major new offensive in the telecoms arena – spearheaded by Maha Krishnapillai, who will join the company following his resignation from the position of Optus director for corporate and government affairs.
Krishnapillai’s newly-created role will effectively see him running telco products and services for Australia Post, as the company seeks to diversify away from traditional postal services and into newer communications offerings. His duties, however, will be purely commercial; he will not be doing any regulatory, government, or corporate affairs work, putting his new position at arm’s length from his previous role at Optus. “I’m genuinely excited by the transformation opportunity at Australia Post, and the opportunity as part of that in terms of their communications products and services strategy,” Krishnapillai told CommsDay. “The thing that really appealed was that [Australia Post CEO] Ahmed Fahour is a really interesting character.”
“I know the opportunity sounds counter-intuitive to some, because that’s what a lot of people have said to me… ‘are you going back to the public service, is this going back to PMG’? But it’s actually none of those things. It’s a pure commercial role, and that’s what appeals… [to] explore the potential for Australia Post in communications products.”
CommsDay understands that the firm’s new telecom strategy will encompass three main areas of focus. First, the company will develop its strength in e-commerce, based on the fact that many online transactions still require parcels to be delivered; Australia Post’s parcel business is already booming on the strength of its work with eBay and similar organisations. Secondly, the firm will ramp up its financial services and banking portfolio; through existing offerings like passport and license services, Australia Post has already built up substantial expertise in identity verification and payment security.
Finally, Australia Post is mulling a push into broader communications services, with an obvious opportunity developing as the NBN continues to roll out. The company’s massive distribution, trusted brand, logistics advantages and easy-to-use payment systems all present a compelling case for the company to play in the wider telecoms space in an NBN environment.
In its move into the telecoms space, Australia Post commands tremendous advantages. According to brand surveys, the company has perhaps the single most recognised and trusted brand in Australia. Moreover, Australia Post is already well-established as the country’s biggest distribution and logistics organisation, with thousands of distribution outlets.
It’s understood that Fahour viewed Krishnapillai as ‘the missing piece of the jigsaw’; a seasoned telecoms executive to complement the banking and retail experience that he’s built up in his senior management team. Krishnapillai – who leaves Optus on 30 November – will begin his new job at Australia Post next January.
Read Grahame Lynch’s analysis on what Australia Post’s telecom play means