Flight Centre NZ boss David Coombes shock departure after two decades

Flight Centre NZ boss David Coombes shock departure after two decades

Flight Centre NZ’s general manager, David Coombes has announced his departure from the company after nearly 23 years at the company.

Coombes has been the face of the brand in New Zealand throughout Covid, and well before it, too. Appearing on radio and television fruequently.

In a personal statement released this afternoon, Coombes confirmed he’s taking redundancy as the company makes changes to its structure.

Dave, or ‘Coombsey’ as he is known to everyone in the industry, has been with Flight Centre for almost 23 years, working in numerous roles across 3 countries, starting as a novice retail consultant in Brisbane and culminating in over 7 years as the MD in New Zealand.

All of his hard work has led to Flight Centre NZ emerging strongly from the challenges of Covid, trusted and respected by its people, the industry and customers alike.

A message from Coombsey:

I know that this announcement will come as a shock to many of you, and to be honest, I’m still coming to terms with it a bit myself. This isn’t farewell just yet, but you guys know I’m always keen to have a couple of words!

I’ve had an amazing ride at Flight Centre (FCNZ), joining (only just, I almost didn’t pass the recruitment process!) as a university drop out making my living as a bouncer. At that time, I could never have imagined that I would have the opportunities that I have. The amazing thing is that mine is not an uncommon story. Flight Centre, and its commitment to ‘Brightness Of Future’ (internal promotion), mean anything is possible for anybody. Never forget that.

Who could have asked for more than the ride to culminate in New Zealand? I’ve never been prouder than when flying the silver fern and representing the amazing people that make up FC Aotearoa. We’ve had the highest of highs, and some low lows, but we’ve always done it together as whanau.

I have been committed to staying the post-Covid journey out, and am gratified to say that I believe we are there and in an incredibly strong position. Our people, our culture, our market share, our voice in the industry and broader New Zealand, the business changes we have implemented, and our passion and commitment leave me with no doubt the journey forward is a successful one.


The Senior Leadership team is an epic group of people who have somehow conspired to make me look good, and their care for our people is second to none. I leave knowing FCNZ couldn’t be in better hands and that they will find the best way to tap into the benefits of globalisation and keep the Kiwi Pride strong. They’ll also probably be breathing a sigh of relief that they don’t need to rearrange another conference on the run because I’ve gone over my allotted time!

I came back to New Zealand because I loved our business and its people. I also came back for the industry dynamic here. I love that although we fight our respective corners hard, underpinning that we come together when we need to, to fight for, protect and look after each other. Never has that been more evident than the last three years or so. Thanks to all our partners for putting up with that loud, opinionated Aussie who blew out their expense budget occasionally!

I’m moving on to whatever new opportunities may present themselves, with no small part of that canary yellow turned black. Until I go, I’ll be here to do what I can to make any changes as seamless as possible and hopefully see as many of you as I can, quite possibly with a beer in hand! If not, I’m not leaving the country so you might well hear me before you see me at some point! Make sure you say hi.

Flight Centre NZ said it is immediately looking to find the right person to fill the MD of NZ role “in one of the current senior leaders.”

As well as the MD role, this leader will keep their existing role.

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