Following a difficult week for the airline, in which his leadership has come under intense scrutiny, Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas, has announced his resignation with immediate effect.
Regulators who have discovered a number of questionable practices by Qantas are now suing the company for millions of dollars, including claims that it continued to sell tickets for more than 8,000 canceled flights.
The airline also came under fire for trying to put COVID travel vouchers to expiration in December, which prompted a U-turn earlier this week. Joyce, meanwhile, received personal criticism for choosing to accept a $10 million bonus in Qantas shares.
As if that weren’t enough, Joyce was asked by lawmakers about the airline’s post-pandemic performance, but the seasoned aviation executive steadfastly declined to discuss how the Prime Minister’s son obtained membership in Qantas’ opulent Chairmans Club.
Originally planning to leave the airline in November, Joyce announced his retirement in June. However, on Tuesday, the embattled CEO announced that he was bringing forward his departure, which actually meant that he was quitting his position with immediate effect.
Vanessa Hudson, the CEO designate, will consequently start serving as the group CEO and managing director of Qantas on September 6, 2023.
In a prepared statement, Joyce said: “In the last few weeks, the focus on Qantas and events of the past make it clear to me that the company needs to move ahead with its renewal as a priority.”
“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.”
Joyce said he had “a lot to be proud of” during his 22-year career at Qantas, 15 of which were as the airline’s CEO.
“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 continued.
While thousands of workers were laid off, jobs were contracted out, and many other employees had their pay, terms, and conditions cut during the pandemic, Joyce’s compensation package came under intense scrutiny.
When the pandemic restrictions were finally lifted and Qantas began to expand its operations, his leadership was also questioned as the airline was plagued by delays, cancellations, and mountains of lost baggage.