Qantas board shakeup: Chairman Richard Goyder resigns, three long-term directors out

Qantas chairman Richard Goyder has buckled under increasing pressure to resign, with the board today announcing his retirement plans.

Goyder will retire prior to the airline’s Annual General Meeting late next year, despite claiming in Senate weeks ago that he would not be stepping down.

In addition, non-executive director Michael L’Estrange will retire at this year’s AGM, on November 3, while longtime board members Jacqueline Hey and Maxine Brenner will retire at the Qantas half-year results in February, after a decade of service.

Doug Parker, Dr. Heather Smith, and new CEO and managing director Vanessa Hudson will offer themselves for election at this year’s AGM.

“As a Board, we acknowledge the significant reputational and customer service issues facing the Group and recognise that accountability is required to restore trust,” Goyder said of his retirement.

“Qantas has gone through an incredibly difficult period since our operation was grounded during the pandemic. The recovery has not been easy, and mistakes were made. We again apologise for those times where we got it wrong.

“I have always sought to act in the best interests of Qantas. Measured and orderly succession at Board level will support the important work underway led by Vanessa and her new management team. Fundamentally, the Group is in a very strong position to overcome its current challenges and deliver for all its stakeholders in the years ahead.”

This is a decidedly different tone to the one he used during a Senate hearing late last month, when he apologised for the illegal sacking of 1,700 workers during the pandemic, while noting the “sound commercial reasons” for doing so.

“I’ve navigated the company through the global financial crisis, chaired Qantas through the most existential crisis we’ve ever had as an airline,” he said. “And right now, the major shareholders and the board feel that I’m the best person to chair the board to navigate us through the current situation we’ve got.”

Qantas’ share price has tumbled 25 per cent, to near 11 month lows, since late July, when public opinion turned against the national carrier.


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