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Qantas CEO opts for early retirement

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SINGAPORE 6 September 2023: Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has advised the Qantas board of directors he will bring forward his retirement by two months “to help the company accelerate its renewal,” according to a board statement released on 5 September.

CEO Designate Vanessa Hudson takes over as managing director and group CEO effective 6 September 2023.

In the official airline statement, Joyce advised: “In the last few weeks, the focus on Qantas and past events make it clear to me that the company needs to move ahead with its renewal as a priority.

“The best thing I can do under these circumstances is to bring forward my retirement and hand over to Vanessa and the new management team now, knowing they will do an excellent job.

“There is a lot I am proud of over my 22 years at Qantas, including the past 15 years as CEO. There have been many ups and downs, and much work is still to be done, especially to ensure we always deliver for our customers. But I leave knowing that the company is fundamentally strong and has a bright future,” Joyce concluded.

Qantas chairman Richard Goyder said: “Alan has always had the best interests of Qantas front and centre, and today shows that. On behalf of the Board, we sincerely thank him for his leadership through some enormous challenges and for thinking well ahead on opportunities like ultra-long-haul travel.

“This transition comes at a challenging time for Qantas and its people. We have an important job to do in restoring the public’s confidence in the kind of company we are, and that’s what the Board is focused on and what the management under Vanessa’s leadership will do,” added Goyder.

As planned, shareholders will formally vote on the appointment of Vanessa Hudson as managing director at Qantas’ Annual General Meeting in November.

Today’s announcement means one of the executive changes announced in June this year will also be accelerated, namely the appointment of Rob Marcolina as the group’s chief financial officer in line with current CFO Vanessa Hudson’s transition to the Group CEO role.

Response from the travel trade

Commenting on the announcement, Australian Travel Industry Association CEO Dean Long said: “The Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) looks forward to working with new CEO Vanessa Hudson and her team. It’s important we have a positive, collaborative relationship to support travelling Australians.

“In the current year, one-third of our clients flew with Qantas domestically and internationally, representing nearly AUD3 billion of Australians’ money spent on air travel. We look forward to collaborating to support these travellers and our businesses for mutual success.”

New Qantas structure takes shape 

In a 28 June 2023 news release, the Qantas Group Management Committee confirmed a transition to the following structure by November 2023.

  • Group CEO – Vanessa Hudson*
  • General Counsel and Group Executive, Office of the CEO – Andrew Finch
  • Chief Customer and Digital Officer – Catriona Larritt*
  • Chief Financial Officer – Rob Marcolina*
  • Chief Corporate Affairs Officer – Andrew McGinnes
  • Chief Risk Officer – Andrew Monaghan*
  • Chief Sustainability Officer – Andrew Parker
  • Qantas Domestic CEO – Markus Svensson*
  • Jetstar CEO – Stephanie Tully
  • Qantas International CEO – Cam Wallace
  • Qantas Loyalty CEO – Olivia Wirth
  • Chief People Officer* – (Recruitment underway)
  • QantasLink CEO – (Recruitment underway)

(Source: Qantas)

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