Australian airline Qantas appoints first woman CEO
Sydney, Australia, May 2 (EFE).- Qantas Group has appointed its first woman chief executive officer and managing director in its 103-year history, the Australian airline announced Tuesday.
Vanessa Hudson is Qantas’ chief financial officer and will be CEO designate and take up a seat on the Qantas Board, before taking over from Alan Joyce when he retires in November.
“There’s not many female CEOs in the worldwide aviation industry and it’s a credit to this country that a gay Irish man was appointed 15 years ago to be CEO of the company and now we have the first female,” Joyce said at a press conference in Sydney after the announcement.
“I can absolutely say that she is an outstanding executive with outstanding leadership skills.”
Hudson was in charge of managing Qantas’ finance portfolio during the Covid-19 pandemic, which strongly impacted the aviation sector as a result of the Australian government order to seal the country’s borders in March 2020 and which began to gradually reopen in November 2021.
The executive, with 28 years of experience including Chief Customer Officer and Senior Vice President for Qantas across the Americas and New Zealand, also led the fleet selection process in 2022 to renew the domestic aircraft for the next decade, said Qantas Airways Chairman Richard Goyder in a statement.
“This transition is happening at a time when the Qantas Group is extremely well positioned. We have a clear strategy, a strong balance sheet and record profitability that supports a pipeline of investment for customers, opportunities for our people and returns to shareholders,” Goyder said, thanking Joyce for his ‘exceptional’ leadership.
Under Joyce’s management, Qantas announced in February that it recorded a half-yearly profit of AU$1 billion ($663 million), the first positive post-pandemic results.
However, the mandate of Joyce, who assumed the executive direction of Qantas in 2008, generated controversy during the pandemic over the dismissal of more than 1,600 ground workers, including baggage handlers, which was denounced as illegal by employees and which is still pending in the courts. EFE