Australia Post boss Christine Holgate has walked away from her $1.5million-a-year position over a Cartier watch scandal, forgoing her right to a six-month $700,000 payout.
The embattled chief executive has been under scrutiny since it was revealed Cartier watches worth almost $20,000 were gifted to four senior staff in 2018 after they secured a deal with the banks.
Her decision to forfeit the hefty payout comes after her predecessor, former Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour, walked away with $8.7 million worth of bonus payments and superannuation on top of his $2 million salary.
Australia Post confirmed on Monday that Ms Holgate had chosen not to claim a cent from the company she has helmed since 2017.
Australia Post boss Christine Holgate has walked away from her $1.5million-a-year position over a Cartier watch scandal, forgoing her right to a six-month $700,000 payout
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) said the gifts were as unacceptable and ordered Ms Holgate to step down
'I have offered today the Chairman and Board of Australia, with great sadness, my resignation as chief executive with immediate effect,' she said in a statement.
'We have prepared significantly for this peak, but still face significant challenges — keeping our people safe, managing the biggest e-commerce Christmas ever and planning in the face of unpredictable seasonal weather.'
It comes after Scott Morrison labelled the gifts 'disgraceful and appalling' in a fiery speech to parliament, declaring if the chief executive did not wish to stand aside 'she can go'.
Ms Holgate later accused the prime minister of humiliating her and said there were no legal grounds for her standing aside.
She has promised to cooperate with a four-week investigation into Australia Post being conducted by the federal finance and communications departments.
Ms Holgate said she had decided to stand down as it was 'critically important' that Australia Post was focused on supporting their customers and communities as Christmas approaches.
'The current issue I am managing is a significant distraction and I do not believe it is good for either Australia Post or my personal wellbeing.
'Consequently, I have made the difficult decision to resign, hoping it will allow the organisation to fully focus on serving our customers.'
She is standing by the purchase of luxury watches, saying the executives involved sealed a banking deal worth $220 million.
'However, I deeply regret that a decision made two years ago, which was supported by the chair, to recognise the outstanding work of four employees, has caused so much debate and distraction,' Ms Holgate said.
'I appreciate the optics of the gifts involved did not pass the ''pub test'' for many.'
Ms Holgate admitted spending $12,000 on four Cartier watches for four executives, but it was later revealed the true figure was closer to $20,000
Ms Holgate later accused the prime minister of humiliating her and said there were no legal grounds for her standing aside
Ms Holgate said she had no animosity towards the government and enjoyed working with Mr Morrison and senior ministers during her time at the organisation.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said last week Ms Holgate's position at Australia Post was untenable.
Her resignation comes after her lawyers hinted at a looming legal battle over the Prime Minister's decision to have her stood down.
A statement from Bryan Belling, partner at employment law firm Kingston Reid last week said: 'Legally, in my opinion there are no grounds for Ms Holgate to be stood down, and ''optics'' not a legally-valid defence.'
'Nor has she been informed as to why she should be stood down.'
Mr Morrison lashed out at Ms Holgate in parliament last week, calling the gifts disgraceful and appalling.
'She's been instructed to stand aside and if she doesn't do that, she can go,' Mr Morrison said.
Ms Holgate's future was put in doubt after it was revealed that she spent $12,000 of the public company's money on Cartier watches to be given to staff members as a bonus
'I have offered today the Chairman and Board of Australia, with great sadness, my resignation as Chief executive with immediate effect.
'As Christmas approaches, it is critically important that Australia Post is absolutely focussed on supporting our customers and communities.
'We have prepared significantly for this peak, but still face significant challenges - keeping our people