The Qantas board has today announced plans for board renewal in recognition of the reputational issues facing the Group and to support restoration of trust in the company.
Chairman Richard Goyder will retire prior to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in late 2024. As announced in May, non-executive director Michael L’Estrange will retire at this year’s AGM on 3 November 2023. To facilitate further renewal, Jacqueline Hey and Maxine Brenner will retire at the Qantas half-year results in February 2024 after 10 years of service.
As planned, three new directors will offer themselves for election at this year’s AGM (Doug Parker, Dr Heather Smith, and CEO and managing director Vanessa Hudson) as well as two existing directors (Todd Sampson and Belinda Hutchinson).
Once the new directors are in place, the board is expected to have an average tenure of around three years at the 2024 AGM, providing a balance of fresh leadership with necessary continuity.
Chairman Richard Goyder 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.
“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,” said Goyder.
The board has initiated the process to appoint new non-executive directors in the months ahead as well as a new Chairman. New committee roles will be appointed in due course. The board has also commenced a process of independently reviewing key governance matters over the past 12 months and will share outcomes in the second quarter of calendar year 2024.
Goyder’s resignation comes after widespread calls in the travel industry for his resignation.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has made repeated calls for him to go alongside the replacement of the CEO position on the board with a workers representative.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine has lashed out at Goyder’s attempt to “retire with dignitiy”.
“This announcement is an attempt by Goyder to leave in a dignified manner with another year’s pay in his pocket, after presiding over the largest case of illegal sackings in Australian history,” Kaine said.
“This isn’t genuine board renewal this is just shuffling the deckchairs. We need to put an end to illegal conduct being blindly rubber-stamped by a board that fails to scrutinise the CEO who is treated as their equal by having a place on the board. With no worker representation, Qantas governance has ignored the needs of the workforce and decimated jobs and standards.”
Alongside the TWU, the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) voiced their desire for Goyder to go in a letter to Qantas chief Vanessa Hudson.
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