Sydney, Australia, Sep 5 (EFE).- Qantas Group boss Alan Joyce has brought his retirement forward by two months, exiting the company with immediate effect amid mounting controversies.
Joyce was set to leave in November after 15 years as CEO.
“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,” Joyce said in a statement announcing his decision on Tuesday.
Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson, who in May was appointed as Qantas’ next CEO and managing director, making her the group’s first woman boss, will succeed Joyce on Wednesday.
His announcement comes after a series of scandals involving the airline, including high ticket prices, outstanding flight credits, poor customer service and treatment of workers, flight delays and cancellations, and the outsourcing of ground staff during the pandemic.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last week said it was taking legal action alleging Qantas “engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct by advertising tickets for more than 8,000 flights” between May and July 2022 that it had already canceled but not removed from sale.
While Joyce admitted in Tuesday’s statement that “there have been many ups and downs” and that “there is clearly much work still to be do,” he said he exits “knowing that the company is fundamentally strong and has a bright future.”
Qantas last week reported a record pre-tax profit of AU$2.5 billion ($1.6 billion) for 2022-23, the first positive result since 2019.
The group was able to overcome the pandemic by virtue of $2.7 billion in government assistance, including in taxpayer-funded subsidies, that Treasurer Jim Chalmers last month said Qantas was under no obligation to pay back.
Qantas also benefited from the government’s July decision to deny its competitor Qatar Airways’ request for 21 extra weekly flights to the Oceanian country, a measure that has been criticized for affecting the free market and competition. EFE