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Alan Joyce Steps Down at Qantas, Vanessa Hudson Takes Over

Alan Joyce is moving up his retirement date as CEO of Qantas Group, effective 6 September 2023. CEO Designate Vanessa Hudson will be the Managing Director and Group CEO effective that date.

Alan Joyce moves up his retirement as CEO of Qantas Group. Vanessa Hudson takes over.
Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO, with the Captain on Qantas’ Project Sunrise Flight to New York. Source: Qantas

Controversy with ACCC

This comes amid the current controversy with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The consumer protection agency initiated court proceedings based on allegations that Qantas improperly sold flights to passengers that had already been canceled.

“The ACCC has conducted a detailed investigation into Qantas’ flight cancellation practices. As a result, we have commenced these proceedings alleging that Qantas continued selling tickets for thousands of canceled flights, likely affecting the travel plans of tens of thousands of people,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

“We allege that Qantas’ conduct in continuing to sell tickets to canceled flights and not updating ticketholders about canceled flights left customers with less time to make alternative arrangements and may have led to them paying higher prices to fly at a particular time not knowing that flight had already been canceled.”

Removed Expiry Dates from COVID Credits

Last week, Alan Joyce made a video announcement to customers. In it, he confirmed that Qantas would remove expiry dates from COVID credits, which were set to expire at the end of the year. In doing so, Qantas addressed one of the ACCC’s concerns. The airline has offered a combination of incentives for passengers to use those credits and also the option to obtain a refund.

Successful Qantas Recovery

Joyce’s decision to move up his retirement date also follows a successful recovery. Qantas Group recently posted its first full-year profit Since COVID, an impressive $2.47b. The airline also announced plans to update its fleet, moving away from the A380 superjumbo in favor of the more efficient Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

During his time at the helm, Joyce has diligently driven improvements and ensured the profitability and growth of the national carrier.

Statement from Alan Joyce

“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,” Alan Joyce said.

Statement from Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder

“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.”

Rob Marcolina Becomes CFO

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

As a result of Joyce’s retirement, the appointment of Rob Marcolina as CFO, which was first announced in June, will also be accelerated allowing current CFO, Vanessa Hudson’s transition to the Group CEO role.

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