The chairman of Australia Post, David Mortimer, has quit his position and will leave board of the government-owned enterprise altogether.

Mr Mortimer served on Australia’s Post’s board for 11 years, including the last six as chairman. His term will finish on 11th September 2012.

An announcement issued by the office of Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy said Mr Mortimer had resigned to “seek new opportunities” and that his departure was “consistent with good corporate governance practice".

The high profile departure comes Australia Post is faces a difficult future as revenue from traditional physical mail services dwindles and tries to recast itself as a trusted provider of digital services.

Key initiatives announced include a foray into identity verification for clients of government agencies and a big retail store revamp to entice more people to shop for non-postal products.

Australia Post has also indicated it will make another push to enter the financial and technology services sector through the provision of services like secure digital mailboxes and online bill presentation and payment.

The resurrected push into transactional services has raised eyebrows because it follows Post’s previous abandonment of consumer online bill payments that were offered until 2007 through the POSTBillpay service which failed to gain traction against rival BPay, which is backed retail banks.

A replacement for the chairman’s position was not immediately announced, however Senator Conroy’s office said Australia Post deputy chairman, Mark Darras, will act as chairman in the interim.

Senator Conroy said Australia Post had undergone “significant changes” during Mr Mortimer’s tenure.

“Under Mr Mortimer’s leadership, Australia Post has adapted to the pressures of a rapidly changing environment and come through the difficulties of the Global Financial Crisis as a stronger, more resilient organisation,” Senator Conroy said.

Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Penny Wong said under Mr Mortimer’s management Australia Post had introduced the Future Ready program, which made Australia Post compatible with digital and traditional postal services.

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