There are some major management changes at Qantas, as the company’s longtime CEO is retiring, and he’s being replaced by another senior Qantas executive.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is retiring in November 2023
Alan Joyce will retire from Qantas effective November 2023. Joyce, 56, served as CEO of Qantas for 15 years, making him one of the longest-serving CEOs in the industry, as it is rare for them to last that long in one position. . Joyce was reportedly supposed to retire around the start of the pandemic, but at the board’s request ended up staying on throughout the pandemic.
Qantas Chairman Richard Goeder said the following about Joyce’s retirement:
“Much of the credit for the bright future ahead of Qantas goes to Alan. He has faced more than his fair share of challenges as CEO and has managed them exceptionally well – from the GFC, to record oil prices, to intense competitive pressures and the COVID crisis.”
The company has been restructured to deal with a number of external shocks and Alan has led it to achieve several record profits. He has oversaw a lot of investments in aircraft and lounges, the creation of Jetstar, our core partnership with Emirates Airlines, and innovations such as the Perth-London route and the Sunrise project. “
“Alan has done an outstanding job leading a team who are fully committed to the long-term success of the national carrier and it is from this team that his successor has been chosen.”
If you ask me, Joyce has a mixed legacy at the airline, and it’s very polarizing — some people think he did a great job, others think he did a terrible job.
To Joyce’s credit, he has always run the airline in a disciplined and conservative manner, and the company has successfully weathered a few storms under his leadership. Some remarkable innovations came under Joyce’s leadership, such as the launch of non-stop flights from Perth to London, the ordering of Airbus A350s for the world’s longest flight, which would become known as “Project Sunrise”, and the renewal of the fleet of narrow-body aircraft.
What interests me most about Joyce is the way he handles business relationships. He has consistently viewed employees as fully replaceable, and has made some harsh cuts in labor, from outsourcing, to hiring people under new contracts.
Furthermore, there is no denying that the perception of Qantas has deteriorated significantly in Australia during the pandemic, as the airline is not the beloved national airline it once was. Again, low perceptions of airlines are not unique to Australia.
Vanessa Hudson will become the new CEO of Qantas
Vanessa Hudson will replace Alan Joyce, who will take over as CEO of Qantas from November 2023. She is currently Group Chief Financial Officer for Qantas, and has worked for the airline group for more than 28 years, including as Chief Customer Officer and Senior Vice President for the Americas and New Zealand .
Here is what Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder had to say about Hudson’s appointment:
“Vanessa has a deep understanding of this business after nearly three decades in a range of roles both domestic and offshore, across trading, clients and finance. She has a huge amount of experience in aviation and is an outstanding pilot.”
Over the past five years, Vanessa has had a direct role in shaping our strategy as a member of the Group Management Committee, and her handling of portfolio and treasury during the COVID-19 crisis has been remarkable. She also led the fleet selection process in 2022 to renew our domestic jet aircraft over the next decade.”
“One of Qantas’ key strengths is the sheer depth of talent that they have, and Vanessa will be supported by a deep group of executives across the organization as well as by the Board of Directors.”
Congratulations to Hudson on her new job. I think it’s safe to say that it’s going to be business as usual for Qantas, and it’s not going to rock the boat too much. Seems like a safe choice, given how long she’s been in the Qantas ecosystem, and been working with Joyce.
While it’s fun to imagine a CEO with fresh thinking and an outsider’s perspective, the reality is that Qantas is in quite a transition, between replacing its tight fleet, and having the A350s join the fleet in the coming years. I think she will have her hands full to implement that vision.
Qantas will finally see a change in senior management, as Alan Joyce retires after 15 years as the company’s CEO. He will be replaced by Vanessa Hudson, who is currently the chief financial officer and has worked for the airline for decades. Congratulations to Hudson on this new role, because it’s always great to see more female CEOs in the airline industry.
If Qantas’ goal is to maintain the status quo (which it seems to be), then I think they’re a great option.
What do you think of the Qantas CEO changes?