Qantas CEO Alan Joyce makes a quick exit

QANTAS Chief Alan Joyce has announced his imminent departure, bringing his retirement forward by two months following the swathe of criticism faced by the airline over the past couple of weeks.

“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,” the outgoing CEO said.

“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.”

Joyce’s decision to step down today comes after the ACCC announced last week that it will pursue Qantas in court over allegations of selling tickets on cancelled flights. The Qantas head also faced a storm of negativity surrounding his $24 million pay packet, as well as outcries over the carrier’s move to block Qatar from adding flights, which could have boosted competition and brought fare prices down.

The Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) has expressed its support for incoming CEO Vanessa Hudson, saying “it’s important we have a positive, collaborative relationship to support travelling Australians”.

Meanwhile, Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder thanked Joyce for his leadership, and commented, “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”.

Shareholders will formally vote on the appointment of Vanessa Hudson as Managing Director at Qantas’ Annual General Meeting in November, while Rob Marcolina will take over from her as the Group’s new Chief Financial Officer.

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