The Qantas Board has announced its intention to renew the composition of the board to address recent reputational challenges and rebuild trust in the company.
Chairman Richard Goyder will step down before the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in late 2024. Additionally, non-executive director Michael L’Estrange will retire during this year’s AGM on 3 November 2023. Jacqueline Hey and Maxine Brenner will retire in February 2024, coinciding with the Qantas half-year results, after serving for a decade.
To facilitate the renewal process, three new directors (Doug Parker, Dr Heather Smith, and CEO and Managing Director Vanessa Hudson) will be proposed for election at this year’s AGM. Todd Sampson and Belinda Hutchinson, existing directors, will also be up for re-election.
The changes will result in a board with an average tenure of approximately three years during the 2024 AGM, striking a balance between fresh perspectives and the necessary continuity.
Chairman Richard Goyder said: “As a Board, we acknowledge the significant reputational and customer service issues facing the Group and recognize that accountability is required to restore trust. 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 apologize 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.”
The Qantas Board is currently in the process of selecting new non-executive directors and a new Chairman. They will also be appointing new committee roles in the near future. Additionally, the Board is conducting an independent review of important governance issues from the past year. The airline will share the outcomes of this review in the second quarter of 2024.
Rebuilding Trust is Critical for Qantas
While Qantas has reported strong financial performance, the airline has grappled with controversy. This resulted in the airline’s previous CEO Alan Joyce moving up his planned retirement date. The airline has acknowledged diminished trust and growing customer dissatisfaction with airline policies and practices. Part of this loss of trust involves recent allegations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that the airline improperly sold tickets for canceled flights. The ACCC took Qantas to court on allegations of misleading advertising and delay in information. The airline argues it manages cancellations by offering customers an alternative flight or a refund. Qantas also faced negative sentiment for its labor relations. The High Court ruling against Qantas on the airline’s decision to outsource ground handling.