Qantas shuffles Board in bid to renew trust

The changes are part of the national carrier's plan to regain the faith of the Australian public. Janie Medbury reports.

QANTAS Group has announced a rejig of its Board in an effort to earn back the trust of the nation after facing significant damage to its reputation following a flurry of controversies this year, including a recent ruling by the High Court, which found the airline guilty of illegally sacking 1,700 crew members during the pandemic in 2020.

Chairman Richard Goyder, who has headed up the Board since 2018, will hang up his hat ahead of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in late 2024, after facing mounting pressure to resign following the Joyce’s early exit last month. Also stepping down is non-executive director Michael L’Estrange, who will depart after this year’s AGM on 03 November, while Jacqueline Hey and Maxine Brenner will retire at the Qantas half-year results in February next year after serving on the Board for a decade.

Three new directors, including Doug Parker, Dr Heather Smith, and CEO and Managing Director Vanessa Hudson, will present themselves for election at the upcoming AGM, as well as two existing directors, Todd Sampson and Belinda Hutchinson. Once the new directors are put in place, the Board is expected to have an average tenure of around three years at the 2024 AGM, which the group said will provide “a balance of fresh leadership with necessary continuity”.

“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, who is pictured, commented. “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,” he concluded.

The Board has begun the process of appointing new non-executive directors in the coming months, in addition to a new Chairman, while new committee roles “will be appointed in due course”. It has also launched an independent review of key governance matters over the past 12 months, with results to be revealed in the second quarter of 2024.

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