Qantas CEO Alan Joyce Resigns Immediately, Two Months Early

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce Resigns Immediately, Two Months Early

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In May 2023, Qantas announced changes to its leadership team. There’s a major update on that front…

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce brings forward retirement

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was supposed to retire as of November 2023, after being in the role of CEO for 15 years. Joyce had claimed he was supposed to retire around the start of the pandemic, but was asked to stay on at the request of the board.

Well, it has now been revealed that Joyce will be retiring effective immediately, roughly two months early. The airline describes his early retirement as helping “the company accelerate its renewal.” Qantas’ new CEO, Vanessa Hudson, will take over as of September 6, 2023. For now she’s CEO Designate, until November 2023, when shareholders formally approve her new role.

Here’s how Alan Joyce describes his early retirement:

“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.”

Meanwhile here’s how Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder describes this development:

“Alan has always had the best interests of Qantas front and centre, and today shows that. On behalf of the Board, we sincerely thank him for his leadership through some enormous challenges and for thinking well-ahead on opportunities like ultra long-haul travel.”

“This transition comes at what is obviously a challenging time for Qantas and its people. We have an important job to do in restoring the public’s confidence in the kind of company we are, and that’s what the Board is focused on, and what the management under Vanessa’s leadership will do.”

Alan Joyce is retiring as Qantas CEO immediately

Why Alan Joyce is leaving Qantas early

Joyce has had a mixed legacy at Qantas, and is pretty polarizing — some people think he has done a great job, while others think he has done a terrible job.

To Joyce’s credit, he has always run the airline in a disciplined and conservative way, and the company has weathered quite a few storms under his leadership. Some cool innovations have come under Joyce’s leadership, like launching nonstop Perth to London flightsordering Airbus A350s for the world’s longest flights, which will be known as “Project Sunrise,” and refreshing the narrow body fleet and wide body fleet.

What sticks out to me most about Joyce, though, is the way he has approached labor relations. He has consistently viewed staff as being completely replaceable, and has made some pretty ruthless labor cuts, from outsourcing, to hiring staff under new contracts.

Furthermore, there’s no denying that the perception of Qantas has deteriorated significantly in Australia during the pandemic, as the airline isn’t the beloved national icon that it once was. Then again, declining perceptions of airlines is hardly unique to Australia.

The perception of Qantas has gotten even worse in the past week or so, as the airline is now potentially facing the largest fine ever from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), which could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The way in which the ACCC is going after Qantas clearly reflects the frustration that the Australian public has with the airline.

Since much of these issues have been blamed on Joyce’s leadership style, I think that’s also why we’re seeing him retire immediately. This development is probably smart, though I wouldn’t expect much to change under Hudson’s leadership. After all, she has also been at Qantas for a long time, working closely with Joyce.

Alan Joyce hasn’t been popular with employees

Bottom line

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has retired effective immediately, around two months earlier than scheduled. Qantas has been getting a huge amount of public scrutiny recently, and the airline is trying to minimize the impact of this as much as possible. Getting rid of Joyce is a major part of that.

Personally I’ve never been a Joyce fan based on the way he treats people, so I’m happy to see him go…

What do you make of Joyce leaving Qantas immediately?

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  1. John Guest

    The recent Qantas appeal for being found guilty of outsourcing labour in Australia during the pandemic has now been rejected by the courts opening potential compensation claims for past impacted employees. Another potential costly 'body blow' to Qantas for which unions will support. The Australian government has recently enacted new laws to 'benchmark' contract labour conditions in Australia for which Qantas was very much at the forefront of outsourcing labour. While its all very well...

    The recent Qantas appeal for being found guilty of outsourcing labour in Australia during the pandemic has now been rejected by the courts opening potential compensation claims for past impacted employees. Another potential costly 'body blow' to Qantas for which unions will support. The Australian government has recently enacted new laws to 'benchmark' contract labour conditions in Australia for which Qantas was very much at the forefront of outsourcing labour. While its all very well not to 'waste' a crisis like a pandemic to achieve whatever ends, the consequences, costs and legacy are damning.

  2. TravelinWilly Diamond

    https://chaser.com.au/general-news/alan-joyce-resigns-to-spend-more-time-waiting-for-his-flight/

  3. H Briner Guest

    If they are to regain customer loyalty they must process the cancelled flight refunds ASAP. Many of these are outstanding for 3 years. It amounts to an interest fee loan at best and blatant theft at worst.

    Whatever........it is a massive betrayal of trust.

  4. GDB Guest

    Couldn't stand the heat and got out of the kitchen. Disgraceful conduct while in office.
    Good riddance.

  5. seanpodge New Member

    Joyce's biggest "innovation" was maintaining cozy relations with the government of the day. The big problem for him and QF is by selling tickets for cancelled flights, they've annoyed the ACCC, one of the very few government bodies in Australia that don't think they exist to serve the whims of big business.

  6. glenn t Diamond

    Alan Joyce always had the interests of:
    1. Qantas shareholders
    2. Himself, and
    3. Those who spent the most cash with the airline,
    in that order, uppermost in his management style.
    Good riddance!

  7. Allan Brown Guest

    It is about time Joyce left, but why is he entitled to a huge bonus after hr destroyed the national carrier's reputation? Time for the present board to be sacked.

  8. Mike Guest

    "Joyce has had a mixed legacy at Qantas, and is pretty polarizing"
    1. To most Australian's his legacy is nowhere near mixed. He has tarnished one of Australia's most loved brand by his utter disrespect to both employees and passengers.
    2. Not really polarizing. While shareholders are probably pleased, most passengers are far from it

    The current parliamentary investigation, the criticism of business practices and the potential fine (that could be hundreds...

    "Joyce has had a mixed legacy at Qantas, and is pretty polarizing"
    1. To most Australian's his legacy is nowhere near mixed. He has tarnished one of Australia's most loved brand by his utter disrespect to both employees and passengers.
    2. Not really polarizing. While shareholders are probably pleased, most passengers are far from it

    The current parliamentary investigation, the criticism of business practices and the potential fine (that could be hundreds of millions of dollars) are a real risk to the business. Joyce being Joyce prefers to take his handsome bonus and leave the mess to his successor.
    I am not a militant feminist or anything but talk about a "glass cliff". I'd normally feel sorry for Vanessa H, but given her contribution to the mess - I will keep my sympathy mostly to the Australian public, who deserve better, more competitive skies

  9. Ola Guest

    People are sick to death of Qantas’ hubris and arrogance. They have exploited the Australian consumer with the help of a more than compliant government. I am skeptical of the new CEO as she is cut from the same cloth as Alan Joyce. Qantas is a shell of the once great airline it was.

  10. Marko Guest

    The most evil person that Australia has ever seen, and the damage that he has inflicted to the airline, its employees and the Australian public is difficult to put in words. It hurts that a person like this will enjoy a nice retirement swimming in cash instead of rotting in a prison cell where he belongs!

    1. Ben Guest

      "The most evil person that Australia has ever seen".

      What ridiculous hubris.

      And please tell us what laws he personally broke exactly?

    2. Lasloy Guest

      You're an idiot and a troll.

  11. Donna Diamond

    We can only hope that Joyce is in permanent retirement and will not show up as CEO of an airline near any of us. These types seem to get recycled in this industry.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      I'm not normally a betting man Donna, but I'm willing to bet the house on him popping up at some other airline* within the next 12-18 months!
      * thinking some MEA which would admire his chutzpah.

  12. Frog Guest

    There needs to be a criminal investigation into the airline, it’s management team and it’s board. A couple hundred million in fines won’t cut it.

    The public in general has very low expectations of airlines worldwide but Qantas took it to a different level. Outright fraud.

    1. Lasloy Guest

      The sort of dumb comment I would expect from a frog.... Having a nice day troll?

  13. KW Guest

    Vote No to Albo and Joyce’s Voice

  14. Ben Guest

    There's no doubt Joyce was a ruthless CEO - he shut down Qantas entirely for days due to a labor dispute. And even Qantas admits its post pandemic performance has been wanting. But he's also made Qantas fitter airline which is tremendously profitable. That's only one metric for sure but a pretty big one. And people my grumble but its still the best quality airline in Australia. I love a cheeky free red wine in...

    There's no doubt Joyce was a ruthless CEO - he shut down Qantas entirely for days due to a labor dispute. And even Qantas admits its post pandemic performance has been wanting. But he's also made Qantas fitter airline which is tremendously profitable. That's only one metric for sure but a pretty big one. And people my grumble but its still the best quality airline in Australia. I love a cheeky free red wine in economy of an evening,

    I do despair thought at some of the comments about Joyce which seem to be thinly veiled swipes at his sexuality, nation of birth and height. Even on this forum. It's pretty gross. Critique his actions - sure - leave his innate traits out of it.

  15. TravelinWilly Diamond

    Qantas CEO Alan Joyce Resigns Immediately, Two Months Early

    Bye you fucker!!!!!!!

    1. Ben Guest

      Far out - people need to chill out. The abuse is wild.

  16. Duck Ling Guest

    Vanessa Hudson today sent out a video message to all staff.

    She says 'As a company, our job is to get the right balance between looking after our customers, you our people, and the business itself. Right now, this must first start with our customers and that's what we will be focused on with our new management team'.

    Which is great if this transpires.

    It's a pity she finishes the video off with a salivating...

    Vanessa Hudson today sent out a video message to all staff.

    She says 'As a company, our job is to get the right balance between looking after our customers, you our people, and the business itself. Right now, this must first start with our customers and that's what we will be focused on with our new management team'.

    Which is great if this transpires.

    It's a pity she finishes the video off with a salivating praise of Joyce and what a wonderful legacy he has left.

    'And lastly, I would like to thank Alan, who has made a huge contribution to Qantas over 22 years. He has devoted much energy and commitment to the organization. Alan, we all thank you and wish you the best for the future'.

    Mmmhmmm

    1. Matt Guest

      I wouldn’t consider those words as a praise but rather a statement of facts. He did make contributions in the last 22 years. She doesn’t say they are positive or negative. He also devoted energy to Qantas and she is thanking him for that. This is as faint a praise as it can be.

  17. Ron Guest

    ".......personally I'm happy to see him go" Good riddance Time for the Australian public to wake up and stand up against both Qantas and the government that allows Qantas to continue robbing the public by deprieving them of real competition in the Australian aviation market

  18. Adam Guest

    Certainly not the largest fine ever - ACCC have imposed fines close to double this before.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      Really? The figure of $600 million is being tossed around~ what company has been fined more than that?

  19. NathanJ Diamond

    He is the most hated man in Australia at the moment. A very hard task given how many absolute arseholes we have in public life down here.

    What a nasty, small, grubby little man he is. Good riddance; don’t let the flight door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

    1. Chris W Guest

      Good riddance. He stayed about 4 years too long.

      Appointing the CFO as his replacement is not a good look for customers or the travelling public. I doubt much will improve.

      I wish Olivia Worth (head of Qantas Loyalty) had got the job instead.

      It's pretty crazy how one of Australia's most loved and iconic brands is now trash.

    2. glenn t Diamond

      Ms Worth would not be any sort of improvement as the CEO. She too has been there forever, and is there with the toilet paper to wipe away whatever nastiness the boys leave on the toilet seats (figuratively).
      She perfected the almost supersonic spin-cycle on the mammoth Qantas spin machine , which is not what Qantas needs right now, but is inevitably happenning as I write.

  20. AJ Guest

    A CEO that reflected the worst of Australia.

  21. Morgan Diamond

    Qantas had the past week from hell. Its not just the ACCC pursuing legal action, its also a bunch of customers taking them to court in a class action for making getting the process of refunds so hard, its also the federal governments decision (in partnership with Qantas) to deny Qatar to add more flights into Australia which would take some of EK and QF market share and lower prices for all consumers. Also there...

    Qantas had the past week from hell. Its not just the ACCC pursuing legal action, its also a bunch of customers taking them to court in a class action for making getting the process of refunds so hard, its also the federal governments decision (in partnership with Qantas) to deny Qatar to add more flights into Australia which would take some of EK and QF market share and lower prices for all consumers. Also there are complex labour negations/disputes happening too. This is all combining and add in the fact Joyce was never well liked and Qantas in the past few years have been taking Australians for a ride - they have a virtual monopoly in Australian aviation and charge exorbitant prices that reflect this. This has also caused Qantas share prices to reach the lowest they have been in the past year. Finally it seems Qantas is getting what is deserved.

  22. David Guest

    The perception of Australia, not just Qantas, deteriorated significantly from the pandemic. It certainly opened my eyes.

  23. Robert Guest

    Being a penny pincher is one thing, we can all understand the intense competition Qantas is facing. But INTENTIONALLY selling tickets for cancelled flights and then dragged its feet in refund is just plain and simple fraud. He should go to jail for it.

  24. Duck Ling Guest

    Fact is, Joyce was appointed from the board of directors on the basis of him being a cost cutter and his former resume highlight being the CEO of a Low Cost Airline. Joyce did exactly what he was brought in to do - slash costs. Unfortunately, this will always come with a lowering of standards, labour disputes and a general reduction in the passenger experience. Which is exactly what has happened.

    However, a CEO is...

    Fact is, Joyce was appointed from the board of directors on the basis of him being a cost cutter and his former resume highlight being the CEO of a Low Cost Airline. Joyce did exactly what he was brought in to do - slash costs. Unfortunately, this will always come with a lowering of standards, labour disputes and a general reduction in the passenger experience. Which is exactly what has happened.

    However, a CEO is not a dictator. They still need the support of the board. And at every step, Joyce has had this. So he should not alone be called out for the awful reputation QANTAS now has in Australia.

    This has happened before - at BA. The parallels are actually huge. A full service 'flag' airline with a pretty good reputation but unable to compete effectively with fierce competitors. They bring in (irish) CEO's with a reputation for being ruthless with cost cutting and who's experience lay with Low Cost airlines. They are hugely successful in what they are tasked to do - slash costs, confront unions etc - but then fall out of favour and leave with their tail between their legs when the reputation of the airline hits rock bottom.

    1. David Diamond

      Amen.

      There is no fundamental swift in the boards goals, they are simply delivering Joyces head (a mere 2 months early than his planned exit anyways) on a spike to try to lessen the fine they’re potentially receiving.

      Qantas needs to actually receive a huge fine to understand that their behaviour is unacceptable, not merely the termination of a puppet.

  25. JK Guest

    I am so curious to see what actions Vanessa Hudson and the board take over the next 2-4 months to improve the airline's reputation after what has been a very bad time for the company. Customers are livid and airfares are totally insane. I still cannot believe the new JFK route via AKL is often $24,000 (AUD). That is $6k more than F to Europe with Emirates and is basically the same distance. So many...

    I am so curious to see what actions Vanessa Hudson and the board take over the next 2-4 months to improve the airline's reputation after what has been a very bad time for the company. Customers are livid and airfares are totally insane. I still cannot believe the new JFK route via AKL is often $24,000 (AUD). That is $6k more than F to Europe with Emirates and is basically the same distance. So many routes are insanely expensive, is there anything that will be done to reduce costs? I have my doubts. Quick fixes would be F&B, not sure what else can be done in the short term to improve things.

    1. JDee Diamond

      To me, Ms Hudson is part of the problem. Qantas needed to appoint a CEO from outside the Company if it wanted to regain any credibility in the immediate future

  26. Anthony Guest

    Australians are rejoycing* at this news. No other business leader has been so disliked so I think everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that this awful period has now come to an era.

    Joyce completely eroded Qantas’ famous operational competence - nothing works anymore - thanks to his ruthless labour cuts, failure to buy new aircraft, outsourcing and offshoring essential services and refusing to invest in technology.

    Alan Joyce cared about nothing...

    Australians are rejoycing* at this news. No other business leader has been so disliked so I think everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that this awful period has now come to an era.

    Joyce completely eroded Qantas’ famous operational competence - nothing works anymore - thanks to his ruthless labour cuts, failure to buy new aircraft, outsourcing and offshoring essential services and refusing to invest in technology.

    Alan Joyce cared about nothing and no one but himself - certainly not his staff or customers who depended on him. A grubby and nasty, narcissistic egomaniac with a severe Napoleon syndrome.

    Qantas may have a stronger balance sheet, but that won’t last long because all of the repairs, to the organisation and reputation, will cost many billions of dollars. Australians are furious.

    1. Frog Guest

      If you consider intangible assets such as goodwill the balance sheet will look very different.

    2. dwondermeant Guest

      Drama aside
      Can they please bring back award seats in Premium cabins?
      I went onto their site and saw seats for non classic rewards for 3 million points each way?? What?? are they smoking something? (sigh)
      Coach is available a little bit Really pathetic
      I avoid Lufthansa for the same reason

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Duck Ling Guest

Fact is, Joyce was appointed from the board of directors on the basis of him being a cost cutter and his former resume highlight being the CEO of a Low Cost Airline. Joyce did exactly what he was brought in to do - slash costs. Unfortunately, this will always come with a lowering of standards, labour disputes and a general reduction in the passenger experience. Which is exactly what has happened. However, a CEO is not a dictator. They still need the support of the board. And at every step, Joyce has had this. So he should not alone be called out for the awful reputation QANTAS now has in Australia. This has happened before - at BA. The parallels are actually huge. A full service 'flag' airline with a pretty good reputation but unable to compete effectively with fierce competitors. They bring in (irish) CEO's with a reputation for being ruthless with cost cutting and who's experience lay with Low Cost airlines. They are hugely successful in what they are tasked to do - slash costs, confront unions etc - but then fall out of favour and leave with their tail between their legs when the reputation of the airline hits rock bottom.

9
Anthony Guest

Australians are rejoycing* at this news. No other business leader has been so disliked so I think everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that this awful period has now come to an era. Joyce completely eroded Qantas’ famous operational competence - nothing works anymore - thanks to his ruthless labour cuts, failure to buy new aircraft, outsourcing and offshoring essential services and refusing to invest in technology. Alan Joyce cared about nothing and no one but himself - certainly not his staff or customers who depended on him. A grubby and nasty, narcissistic egomaniac with a severe Napoleon syndrome. Qantas may have a stronger balance sheet, but that won’t last long because all of the repairs, to the organisation and reputation, will cost many billions of dollars. Australians are furious.

5
Robert Guest

Being a penny pincher is one thing, we can all understand the intense competition Qantas is facing. But INTENTIONALLY selling tickets for cancelled flights and then dragged its feet in refund is just plain and simple fraud. He should go to jail for it.

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