The founder and general manager of Australia Post’s Digital iD program has left the organisation as the market-leading project faces funding cuts and a shrinking team.
InnovationAus.com understands the Digital iD team were informed on Tuesday morning that its general manager Cameron Gough will leave Australia Post. Mr Gough has led the Digital iD project since it was launched in 2016 after joining Australia Post in mid-2012.
An Australia Post spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that he had “decided this is the right time for him to leave”.
“Cam specialises in creating and building new digital businesses like Digital iD and is keen to explore new digital business opportunities as Digital iD evolves to its next phase,” the spokesperson told InnovationAus.com.
A number of other key executives in the Digital iD have also left the organisation in the last year.
The Digital iD project will also no longer operate as a single entity within Australia Post and will be swallowed by the broader Identity Products and Services team.
The project will now be led by that team’s general manager Regis Bauchiere, who has been in the role since October 2016.
“Given the synergies and strategic alignment between Digital iD and the existing identity services portfolio, it is a natural evolution to bring these teams closer together,” the Australia Post spokesperson said.
“Regis will now lead the next phase of Digital iD as we focus on commercialising the platform and continuing to work closely with our partners.”
The Identity Products and Services team oversees Australia Post’s more traditional identity products such as property transfer verification of identity, passport applications and taxi licence applications.
It comes amid a refocusing within Australia Post away from digital and innovative offerings and towards more traditional logistic projects along with a focus on Asia which has resulted in funding cuts to the Digital iD team, InnovationAus.com understands.
Mr Gough has joined Digital iD’s head of strategic growth, head of product and consumer lead as key executives that have left the project this year.
Multiple sources have confirmed that focus has shifted away from Digital iD following the departure of former Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour last year, who was replaced by Christine Holgate in October.
Since then, InnovationAus.com understands there have been significant funding cuts to the project, with several key members of the team leaving the organisation. Australia Post has said that the funding changes are also the result of the project moving into a new phase.
“The funding is reflective of the stage that the product build is at. With the bulk of the platform built we will only be making incremental changes and will focus on commercialisation,” an Australia Post spokesperson said.
Australia Post was also recently pursuing private funding or an outright sale of the project, but has said that these plans have now been “halted”.
The spokesperson said the company “remains committed to investing in and developing Digital iD”.
The Digital iD project was launched in 2016 and had become the market leader in digital identification and verification services. Its first iteration was rolled out earlier this year, and 40 companies are now signed up to it.
The service verifies an online user’s identity using documents including drivers’ licenses, passports, smartphone apps and plans to include biometric data.
The company is also in the process of partnering with the federal government’s Digital Transformation Agency to incorporate its offering with the GovPass service.
Australia Post is in the process of being accredited against the DTA’s Trusted Digital Identity Framework, which outlines the standards of privacy, security, assurance and interoperability a service must meet to become an identity provider.
Australia Post is understood to be the first company looking to be accredited against the framework.