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Qantas promotes 28-year company veteran Vanessa Hudson to succeed Alan Joyce as CEO

Currently the airline’s Chief Financial Officer, Hudson will take over from November.

Qantas' next CEO, Vanessa Hudson, will succeed Alan Joyce.

Qantas will welcome its 13th Chief Executive Officer from November this year, today promoting 28-year company veteran Vanessa Hudson to the top job and the successor to Alan Joyce.

Joyce had already signalled his intention to step down as Qantas CEO this year after 15 years in the role and more than 20 with the national carrier overall.

Hudson is currently serving as the carrier’s Chief Financial Officer and since joining Qantas in 1994, has held a variety of executive positions including Chief Customer Officer and Senior Vice President for Americas and New Zealand.

She will succeed Alan Joyce following Qantas' 2023 Annual General Meeting in November, joining the company's Board of Directors at the same time.

Speaking of her succession to the top job, Hudson said it was an honour to be asked to lead the national carrier.

“This is an exceptional company full of incredibly talented people and it’s very well positioned for the future. My focus will be delivering for those we rely on and who rely on us – our customers, our employees, our shareholders and the communities we serve.

Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder said Hudson’s appointment came following an exhaustive selection process.

“A lot of thought has gone into this succession and the Board had a number of high-quality candidates to consider, both internally and externally,” Goyder said.

“Vanessa has a deep understanding of this business after almost three decades in a range of roles both onshore and offshore, across commercial, customer and finance. She has a huge amount of airline experience and she’s an outstanding leader.”

Among Hudson's recent major achievements at Qantas include playing a leading role in shaping  the airline's strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic, handling the finance and treasury portfolios and leading the renewal effort for the airline's domestic fleet, which will see 29 Airbus A220s and 20 Airbus A321-XLRs begin to arrive from next year.

Goyder paid tribute to departing CEO Alan Joyce, saying the transition was 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 added.

“Much of the credit for the bright future in front of Qantas goes to Alan. He’s faced more than his fair share of challenges as CEO and he’s managed them exceptionally well – from the GFC, to record oil prices, to intense competitive pressures and the COVID crisis.

Now outgoing CEO Alan Joyce said there was still a lot he wants to deliver in his remaining six months in the role, including ensuring a smooth handover to Vanessa Hudson, who he says will excel in her new role.

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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 1 May 2023

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