Post Office CEO Accused of Defamation Campaign Against Former HR Director

Post Office CEO accused of defaming ex-HR director over pay demands; investigation clears him, but scandal adds to scrutiny of leadership.

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Ebenezer Mensah
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Post Office CEO Accused of Defamation Campaign Against Former HR Director

Post Office CEO Accused of Defamation Campaign Against Former HR Director

Post Office CEO Nick Read has been accused of leading a "deliberate campaign to defame and ostracise" the company's former HR director, Jane Davies, according to claims made on April 24, 2024. Davies alleges that Read was "obsessed with his salary" and threatened to resign over the issue when she failed to secure him a pay raise of more than 5%.

An external investigation has since cleared Read of all misconduct allegations, which the Post Office says has "discredited many of the claims" made by Davies and former chair Henry Staunton. However, Davies has accused the Post Office of "misinterpreting" her complaint and "widening the scope of their investigation to suit another agenda," while Staunton has stated that the complaint was directed at Read alone.

Davies claims that the first eight weeks of her role were consumed by Read's demands for higher pay, and that he viewed her as a failure for not delivering the desired remuneration increase. This led to what Davies describes as a deliberate campaign to defame and ostracize her. Former Post Office chairman Henry Staunton also alleged that Read had threatened to resign multiple times over the pay issue, which was turned down by the government.

Why this matters: The allegations against Read come amidst the ongoing Post Office Horizon scandal, which has seen hundreds of sub-postmasters wrongfully prosecuted due to issues with the Horizon IT system. The dispute between Read, Davies, and Staunton adds further scrutiny to the leadership and culture at the Post Office as it faces a public inquiry over its handling of the scandal.

Read's pay for the 2022-23 financial year totaled £570,000, after he returned part of his £54,000 bonus the previous year. The Post Office has confirmed that an independent lawyer's review has "exonerated" Read of all allegations of wrongdoing. The government considers the matter closed, stating that their focus is now on compensating the postmasters affected by the Horizon scandal. "The review has drawn a line under the issue," a government spokesperson said. "We are committed to ensuring that those who were wrongly convicted receive the compensation they deserve."

Key Takeaways

  • Post Office CEO Nick Read accused of defaming ex-HR director Jane Davies
  • Davies claims Read was "obsessed with his salary" and threatened to resign
  • External investigation cleared Read of misconduct, but Davies disputes findings
  • Allegations add to scrutiny over Post Office's handling of Horizon scandal
  • Government considers matter closed, focuses on compensating affected postmasters