Major changes at Qantas boardroom have continued as the company’s chairman, Loyalty CEO and multiple members of the board join CEO Alan Joyce in stepping down as the fallout from a number of controversies continues.
Olivia Wirth, the CEO of Qantas Loyalty, has become the latest senior Qantas employee to step down following Joyce’s early retirement and the company’s announcement that it would be instigating a board renewal plan to “support the restoration of trust in the company”.
The Australian airline has been hit by a series of scandals in recent months, including the loss of a high court appeal that upheld a ruling that Qantas had illegally outsourced 1,700 ground workers during the pandemic.
The company also faces new court action by Australia’s consumer protection authority over the alleged sale of thousands of tickets for flights that had already been cancelled, and delayed notification to customers of the cancellation of flights they had booked.
Discussing the board renewal, chairman Richard Goyder, who will step down before Qantas’ Annual General Meeting in late 2024, said: “As a Board, we acknowledge the significant reputational and customer service issues facing the Group and recognise 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 apologise for those times where we got it wrong.”
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Goyder also said that the plan would support the work of new CEO Vanessa Hudson and her management team to overcome the challenges currently facing the company.
Hudson has already apologised to customers for the tumultuous and “humbling” period suffered by the airline and acknowledged the work that needed to be done to win trust back and bring the airline back to its position as one that “Australians can be proud of” in a video released online.
In addition to Goyder and Wirth’s departures, Qantas has appointed a new chief people officer, Catherine Walsh and will see the exits of non-executive director Michael L’Estrange as well as board members Jacqueline Hey and Maxine Brenner.