Qantas CEO Alan Joyce will step down from the position two months earlier than expected amid a tumultuous fortnight for the airline.
Incoming chief executive Vanessa Hudson will now take over the role of managing director and group CEO on September 6.
“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 on Thursday.
“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.”
Joyce, who was set to retire in November 2023, has held the role of CEO for 15 years. Hudson was most recently the airline’s group CFO.
The announcement follows a rocky few weeks for the airline, which last month posted a $2.5 billion profit – its first full-year statutory profit after tax since FY19.
Just last week, Qantas came under fire from senators at a parliamentary inquiry into the cost of living over its outstanding travel credits. The airline had told the inquiry it had about $370 million worth of outstanding travel credits, but the wider Qantas Group, which includes Jetstar, had a further $100 million.
Those credits were due to expire on December 31, 2023.
After backlash from consumers, the Group decided to allow customers to request a refund indefinitely, saying: “These credits and vouchers will never expire. We’re doing this because we’ve listened.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also taken legal action in the Federal Court, alleging Qantas engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct, by advertising tickets for more than 8,000 flights that it had already cancelled but not removed from sale.
This is a developing story. More to come.