Is this Qantas’ next CEO? Vanessa Hudson throws her hat in the ring

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, the chief financial officer of Qantas, Vanessa Hudson, voiced her desire to take on the CEO position, which is currently held by Alan Joyce.

“If the board were to give me the opportunity to step into Alan’s shoes, I would be incredibly honoured and proud to do that,“ Hudson said in the interview.

“There are a number of candidates competing for that role … So we’ll see how that goes over the next 12 months.”

If Hudson were to take on the position, she would be part of the small group of women spearheading an airline, joining Virgin Australia’s boss Jayne Hrdlicka and Lynne Embleton from Irish airline Aer Lingus.

According to the International Air Transport Association, only 5 per cent of airlines are led by women.

Joyce took the top spot in 2008 and seems steady in his position, making him one of the industry’s longest-serving executives.

Some thought he would depart after the airline’s centenary in 2020, but as COVID ravaged the world’s travel industry, he agreed to hang around until December 2023, and possibly further to get the company out of the pandemic.

However, this is not the first time another Qantas high-up has voiced their desires for Joyce’s job.

In 2018, then head of Qantas’ international business Alison Webster told the Sydney Morning Herald: “Without a doubt I would aspire to be Alan’s successor.

“I’m also very clear – I’m only four months into the new role. But if I had a dream job, then that’s my spot on the wall. And he knows that.”

Webster later resigned after less than 18 months in the global business role.