Russell Withers has left his role at the AOC ©Getty Images

The billionaire founder of convenience store 7-Eleven in Australia has left his role on the country's National Olympic Committee following allegations of worker exploitation at the company.

Russell Withers had served on the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Executive for 14 years but has now announced his retirement amid the developing scandal.

An investigation by Fairfax Media and the ABC programme Four Corners claimed that two thirds of 7-Eleven shops in Australia have been underpaying their employees.

Withers could now face a grilling at a Senate hearing and his position at the AOC had become untenable.

"What's required of me as 7-Eleven Stores chairman means I cannot give the AOC the commitment and clarity such a role deserves and demands," he said in a statement.

"Continuing claims about 7-Eleven and its business cannot be allowed to pollute the AOC's work."

John Coates, President of the AOC and also a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was flying to Lausanne when the Four Corners programme aired on August 31.

He was then told by Withers: "I wanted to let you know that I am in your hands and happy to either stand aside or stand down from my AOC roles.

"I certainly don’t want to see any blow-back onto the AOC, particularly when the AOC runs to such high governance standards.”

John Coates praised Russell Withers' contribution to the AOC Executive
John Coates praised Russell Withers' contribution to the AOC Executive ©Getty Images

Despite the circumstances of the departure, Coates heaped praised on Withers for his "outstanding" contribution while in his former role.

He was nominated to the AOC Executive by the Equestrian Federation of Australia, which he served as President from 2001 to 2006.

"It is a voluntary role and he has been extremely generous with his time and we have benefited greatly from his input as Chairman of the AOC Audit Committee, a member of the AOC Finance Commission and as a Director of the Australian Olympic Foundation and member of its Investment Advisory Committee," said Coates.

"Russell has made an outstanding contribution to the AOC since 2001.

"He came from an equestrian background but had a genuine love of everything Olympic.

“He supported our athletes in both the Summer and Winter Games.

“He was the section manager for equestrian at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

"He filled the role of equestrian commentator/announcer at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympics.

"He was Deputy Chef de Mission of the 2008 Australian Olympic Team in Beijing."

7-Eleven has announced the formation of an independent panel to review the allegations.