Alan Joyce to leave Qantas immediately as PR disaster claims CEO scalp

Alan Joyce is stepping away from the Qantas CEO role today, bringing forward his retirement by two months to “help the company accelerate its renewal.”

CEO Designate Vanessa Hudson will assume the role of managing director and group CEO from tomorrow.

The national carrier’s reputation has been hammered by an ongoing PR crisis, which came to a head last week when the consumer watchdog launched Federal Court action against the airline.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleged that Qantas “engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct” by advertising tickets for more than 8,000 flights that it had already cancelled.

It came days after Joyce fronted a Senate committee, answering questions about high airfares in the wake of the airline’s record $2.5 billion FY23 profit.

Qantas has also been under fire over revelations the federal government blocked Qatar Airways from introducing additional flights that would have seen lower fares for travellers.

Alan Joyce said: “In the last few weeks, the focus on Qantas and events of the past 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 there is clearly much work still to be done, especially to make sure we always deliver for our customers.

“But I leave knowing that the company is fundamentally strong and has a bright future.”

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 what is obviously 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.”

As a result of this accelerated timeline, Rob Marcolina will take over from Hudson as the Group’s chief financial officer.


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