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Wednesday 11 October 2023

Chairman Goyder heads for the exit door at Qantas

After overseeing declining standards of service and reputation, Qantas chair Richard Goyder is on the way out.

But did he jump, or was he pushed?

Goyder, a backer on controversial former CEO Alan Joyce at the Australian national carrier, last month dismissed calls to step down during grillings before the Australian Senate.

But this morning a Qantas press release announced his departure ahead of schedule. This followed the share price dropping over 25% in recent months. 

The release did not sound good for under-siege Goyder, saying: "The Qantas Board today announces plans for board renewal in recognition of the reputational issues facing the Group and to support restoration of trust in the company.

"Chairman Richard Goyder will retire prior to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in late 2024."

It listed other changes, including non-executive director Michael L’Estrange, Jacqueline Hey and Maxine Brenner retiring in February 2024 after 10 years of service.

"As planned, three new directors will offer themselves for election at this year’s AGM (Doug Parker, Dr Heather Smith, and CEO and managing director Vanessa Hudson) as well as two existing directors (Todd Sampson and Belinda Hutchinson)." the statement said.

“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.

“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.

“I have always sought to act in the best interests of Qantas. Measured and orderly succession at board level will support the important work underway led by Vanessa and her new management team.

"Fundamentally, the Group is in a very strong position to overcome its current challenges and deliver for all its stakeholders in the years ahead.”

Goyder, who adopts a "superior", arrogant tone, also has chairman roles with the AFL and Woodside Energy.   

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