Select Page

QANTAS: Alan Joyce, CEO to leave tomorrow. WOW!

QANTAS: Alan Joyce, CEO to leave tomorrow. WOW!

In an announcement just released, Qantas reveals that the Board will bring forward the retirement of Alan Joyce as Managing Director and Group CEO effective tomorrow, Wednesday, 6 September to be exact.

He was scheduled to leave in November, bringing his retirement date forward by two months.

CEO Designate Vanessa Hudson will assume the role of Managing Director and Group CEO from the same date 6 September 2023.

“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.

There is a lot I am proud of over my 22 years at Qantas, including the past 15 years as 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.”

Alan Joyce, Qantas Managing Director and Group CEO
Qantas Flight 477 Sydney to Melbourne
Qantas Domestic 737-800 interior [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Background to the demise of Alan Joyce

Precluding the calls for Alan Joyces resignation back when he grounded the entire airline in 2011, pressure has been mounting for the scalp of the CEO Alan Joyce over the last few weeks. It started with the announcement of a bumper profit, that should have been cause for a celebration. Instead, things started going downhill.

Travel credits held by Qantas close to half a billion

At a senate inquiry hearing, Joyce couldn’t answer how much the company was holding in total travel credits from customers. It also emerged that the publicly released figures did not include money owed to overseas passengers and Jetstar customers. The AU$350 million publicly admitted to started to look more like AU$470 million or more.

Qatar Airlines – rejection of additional flights

Almost at the start of all these issues was the rejection by the Transport Minister, Katherine King of an application to expand Qatar flights to Australia by 28 per week. The government provided a range of inadequate explanations. Suspicion that Qantas lobbying had been a determinant also emerged. The Qantas/Emirates alliance stood to benefit from the denial of the application, whereas, as a partner to Qatar Airways, Virgin Australia stood to benefit if the landing rights were granted. Tourism, Airport, and even labour state premiers called for the decision to be reviewed

Qantas Sydney First Lounge [Qantas/2PAXfly]
Qantas Sydney First Lounge [Qantas/2PAXfly]

Credit deadline withdrawn

To salve that wound, Qantas announced that it was dropping the December 2023 deadline for use of credits or refunds. But that seemed only to provoke more stories of how badly Qantas had treated some of its customers, with tales of higher fares being quoted when credits were being used, than when fares were bought with cash.

Delayed bonuses for Alan Joyce got bigger

Joyce was also roundly criticised for the way he had deferred some of his bonus share grants, from the pandemic, until the present day when they were worth much more.

Selling already cancelled flights

Then the bombshell of the legal action by the ACCC – the Australian Corporation and Consumer Commission. It has accused Qantas of continuing to sell flights after they have been cancelled. Sometimes 48 days after they have been cancelled. The Chair of the ACCC called for a fine in the range of AU$250 million, which will be the highest fine the ACCC has ever won for a corporation doing bad things.

Vanessa Hudson – New Qantas Managing Director and Group CEO as of tomorrow, Wednesday 6 September [Qantas]
Vanessa Hudson – New Qantas Managing Director and Group CEO as of tomorrow, Wednesday 6 September [Qantas]

2PAXfly Takeout

There has also been a lot of criticism of the Qantas Board, and its Chair, Richard Goyder for their defence of, and inability to curb Joyce’s bad decisions. The outward and visible sign was that the Qantas share price tumbled by 7% over the last week or so. Nothing like a drop in share price to provoke some decisive action.

Will this cauterise the wound? I don’t think so. The damage is done, and repairing it will take far more, and far longer than bringing a resignation forward by two months.

Vanessa Hudson the new CEO has a much harder job to do than when her appointment was announced a few months ago.


  1. AA56

    No matter how much hate is poured onto Alan Joyce and Qantas, it will not make any difference. The QFF program has over 13 million members. These members have so much invested in the Qantas program that they will continue to fly Qantas regardless of any Senate inquiry or bad press.

    • 2paxfly

      With a 15% dive in share price, the Qantas Board is worried, and its CEO has already retained the Boston Consulting Group to advise how it can repair its relationships with customers. On the strength of its FF scheme, Virgin Australia has a comparable over 11 million membered scheme.

  2. AA56

    The majority of the flying public and QFF members wouldn’t care if the Qantas share price tanked 50%. When I fly, and I am sure the majority of passengers are willing to pay a premium so that there are Qantas-trained pilots at the front if things go pear-shaped. People will continue to fly Qantas because they invest so much time and money in the QFF program. There are no relationships to repair. I flew out of Perth last week and the A330 was full in Business Class and encomny class.

    • 2paxfly

      Thanks for the comment AA56. The ACCC, Shareholder advocates, and social media participants are at odds with your view. I travel with Qantas all the time, but it doesn’t mean that I am happy with their service or price, or that they couldn’t improve on all those fronts. On the other hand, extrapolating a world view from ones own experience is always perilous.

      • AA56

        I’m at Perth airport now and the terminals are packed. Passengers are not concerned with the share price, negative press or Alan Joyce. Passengers will pay the fare that gets them to their destination. If you’re not happy with the service then don’t fly Qantas. I can’t fault the service that I receive from ground staff and cabin crew on flights with Qantas. The Qantas brand will survive this media beat-up.

        • 2paxfly

          Hey AA56, both your loyalty and naiveté are breathtaking.

  3. AA%^

    That’s an arrogant statement from somebody who has been flying to NZ the long way around to maintain status with Qantas. I am far from naive. I am just calling it as it is as I walk around a packed Qantas terminal. Nobody here in the terminal is concerned with the Qantas share price, Alan Joyce and some consulting firm hired to fix the brand image because of a media beat-up. They just want to arrive at their destination safely.

    • 2paxfly

      quod erat demonstrandum

  4. AA56

    What does that mean? I live in Western Australia and speak English.

      • AA56

        Very droll.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Previously . . .

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive regular updates about 2PAXfly.

Reviews, deals, offers, and most of all opinion will be in your inbox.

We won't spam you, and we won't share your details with others.

Newsletter Regularity

You have Successfully Subscribed!