Qantas’ head of corporate affairs throws in the towel

Qantas’ head of corporate affairs throws in the towel

Qantas’ head of corporate affairs, Andrew McGinnes, will leave the airline in June after nearly 13 years with Qantas and Jetstar.

During his time at the carriers, McGinnes held a variety of roles within both airlines’ communications strategy and government relations departments during former CEO Alan Joyce’s tenure. At the airline, McGinnes manages media and government relations, industry affairs and employee communications.

The Australian Financial Review reported that it saw an internal document where Qantas chief executive Vanessa Hudson thanked McGinnes for his help as she moved to the top job and for “carefully [leading] the communications for record profits and losses, a number of transformation programs and turnarounds, major fleet announcements and route launches, and the unprecedented challenges of COVID”.

McGinnes said it has been a “privilege to work at the Qantas Group for more than a decade.”

“Qantas is typically one of the most mentioned brands in the country and that will no doubt continue because of the important role it plays in national life and the connection that Australians have to it.”

McGinnes sat by Joyce and Stephanie Tully in August when the airline was called to face a senate inquiry over the cost of living crisis. This public grilling, alongside a litany of controversies for the airline, spelled turmoil for Qantas’ reputation as its brand image and stock price nose dived in the second half of last year. McGinnes was not present at the following inquiry which examined bilateral air right agreements.

During McGinnes’ time at the carrier, Qantas suffered a significant blow in Brand Finance’s ‘Australia 100 2024’ report, dropping 22 spots to 41st in the brand strength section, despite coming first in 2019’s rankings.

The National Carrier’s reputation drop came after a slew of controversies rocked the airline in 2023, including an ACCC investigation that Qantas was selling tickets on cancelled flights and a high court ruling that it had illegally sacked nearly 1700 ground workers during the pandemic. This, alongside pandemic-related hinderances and a bumpy return to the skies in 2022, contributed to Qantas’ precipitous drop in the brand strength category.

The leadership change comes after Qantas announced Andrew Glance as the airline’s new head of loyalty, replacing Olivia Wirth, a front runner for CEO during the end of Joyce’s time at the carrier.

(Featured Image: Andrew McGinnes, outgoing head of Corporate Affairs at Qantas – LinkedIn/Andrew McGinnes)

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