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Qantas Chairman Says He’ll Quit After Airline’s Reputation Nosedived But 2024 Departure is Too Late For Unions

Qantas Chairman Says He’ll Quit After Airline’s Reputation Nosedived But 2024 Departure is Too Late For Unions

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Richard Goyder, the longtime chairman of Australian flag carrier Qantas, announced on Wednesday that he would leave the airline’s board of directors in late 2024 after admitting that Qantas had faced “reputational issues” during his troubled tenure.

Those same issues have already claimed the scalp of ex-CEO Alan Joyce, who was forced to quit the airline earlier than planned and with immediate effect last month after Australian competition regulators sued the carrier.

Goyder has faced mounting pressure from lawmakers and unions to go the same way as Joyce. Qantas is trying to rebuild the trust of the travelling public who have come to loathe what was once one of Australia’s most loved brands.

In the face of repeated calls for him to resign, Goyder had steadfastly refused to bow to the pressure but on Tuesday he said he intended to retire in late 2024 ahead of the airline’s annual general meeting.

“As a Board, we acknowledge the significant reputational and customer service issues facing the Group and recognise that accountability is required to restore trust,” Goyder said after announcing his retirement plans.

“Qantas has gone through an incredibly difficult period since our operation was grounded during the pandemic. The recovery has not been easy, and mistakes were made. We again apologise for those times where we got it wrong,” Goyder continued.

His apology was not, however, enough for the Transport Workers Union of Australia who said Goyder should quit immediately.

The TWU fought Qantas over the sacking of nearly 2,000 ground workers at the height of the pandemic, and the airline has finally accepted that what it did was illegal.

“Qantas has become a wannabe luxury consumer brand that really acts as a funnel for corporate greed,” the TWU’s national president Michael Kain said on Tuesday.

“Joyce did very little right in his tenure at Qantas, but the one thing he did do was take an early exit, and Goyder should follow him.”

Kain’s sentiments were shared by various lawmakers, including Senator Tony Sheldon, who said Goyder’s departure “can’t come soon enough”.

Goyder defended his tenure, saying he had always “sought to act in the best interests of Qantas”.

New CEO Vanessa Hudson has announced a slew of internal changes in an attempt to win back passenger trust which will include making more frequent flyer seats available and a review of customer service policies to make them more fair.

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