Qantas is on the lookout for a new CEO. But who will it be?

Qantas is on the lookout for a new CEO. But who will it be?

Qantas has hired advisers from leadership advisory firm Russel Reynolds to find a replacement for Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, according the Australian Financial Review.

This news emerged as Joyce announced that the flying kangaroo was looking to replace 8500 of the 9800 jobs the airline cut during the pandemic. In a press conference announcing the update, Joyce said that he planned on staying at the helm of Qantas until at least the end of this year.

“I’ve always said my task is to leave Qantas in a better position, a stronger position, and once that’s done and my very last task is to make sure I have an internal successor,” Joyce added.

The Qantas CEO insisted that his replacement would come from his array of existing Qantas Group counterparts, with the new leader poised to take over the national carrier at a time when the group is looking up.

Alan Joyce

But the real question is, who is good enough to fill Joyce’s shoes?

The front of the race is confined to two internal candidates within the group: CFO Vanessa Hudson and Qantas Loyalty boss Olivia Wirth, who have both worked at the airline for years.

These two were on the selection panel, alongside Joyce, to hire former Air New Zealand customer and chief officer and new Qantas international airline and freight CEO, Cam Wallace. This panel was also used for choosing Stephanie Tully as Jetstar’s new CEO, Stephanie Tully, who is also rumoured as a front runner for top dog position.

Hudson, the numbers wizard of the airline, helped take Qantas from $7 billion of debt to produce a $1.4b profit in the first half of the 2023 financial year. The Australian reported that she’d performed well in terms of the stock market and well spoken of by the finance teams she presides over. She boasts 30 years of experience in the airline, which includes a stint running The Americas.

Vanessa Hudson

Despite Hudson’s quantitative successes with the flying kangaroo, the airline may be looking for someone with experience managing image and brand.

Wirth’s foundations in media, marketing, and customer relations over the past five years makes her more favourable with the customers and her experience with the loyalty business may give her the edge if the Qantas board looks to prioritise winning favour with customers.

But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t produced fiscally for the airline. Her work with the Qantas loyalty business – namely, turning it into a non-volatile money making machine – has seen it produce earnings before interest and tax of $1.5b since she took the wheel in March 2018.

But brand image may still be a challenge regardless of new CEO, Morningstar analyst Angus Hewitt told the AFR.

“More planes on time, fewer cancelled flights, fewer bags lost or damaged, and cheaper fares should have a bigger impact on Qantas’ public image than who the chief executive might be,” Hewitt said.

How about Wallace?

Internal sources confirmed that the newcomer is unlikely to be a front runner, despite his extensive experience in the aviation industry.

Wallace was reportedly quite well-liked during hi 19 years at Air NZ, but his time with the carrier ended during the COVID lockdown of 2020.

Other internal candidates rumoured to snag the top spot had left over the past few years. Most recently of these was Gareth Evans, the former CEO of Jetstar, and Tino La Spina, the airline’s former CFO and international chief.

Latest News

  • Cruise

Seabourn introduces enhanced groups programs for travel advisors

Leading ultra-luxury cruising and expedition travel company, Seabourne, proudly announces the “Seabourn Enhanced Groups Program” to elevate business prospects for travel advisors. This program introduces a revamped Tour Conductor Credit that offers shipboard credits or bonus commission for bookings. It also eliminates the need for deposits for small group allotments and increases group capacity. “Seabourn […]

  • Cruise

MSC World America to become the ultimate family destination at sea

MSC Cruises’ latest world-class ship is set to redefine family cruising with unprecedented spaces and activities, including ones developed in partnership with the LEGO® group. The cruise line announced that its new flagship will feature seven distinct districts, each bringing together a range of tailored experiences. The ship’s blend of American comfort and European design […]

  • Cruise

Ponant’s latest luxury cruise expeditions for 2024 and 2025

Head out to see the beauty of unique destinations on three bucket-list explorations of Australia with Ponant Cruise’s new luxury expeditions. Known for their luxury cruises, Ponant offers unique and truly exceptional sea voyage aboard sleek and intimately sized cruise yachts. They offer a range of discovery expeditions, and launched new cruises that take guests […]

  • News

Liz Anderson steps down from CATO Board after eight years of leadership

The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has today announced that Liz Anderson (at right) will be stepping down from the Board on Wednesday June 19, concluding her eight years as a director. “The eight years that Liz served on the CATO board were the most transformative time in the Association’s history,” CATO Chair Dennis […]

  • Attractions

Comedian Josh Thomas road tests swapping day job for Tassie odd jobs

Australians are invited to tap into a 200-million-day annual leave bank* and swap day jobs for one of 10 ‘Odd Jobs’ in Tasmania this off-season including Wombat Walker, Paranormal Investigator, Wine Whisperer and Truffler Snuffler. Tourism Tasmania has today launched Odd Jobs, a tongue-in-cheek campaign designed to encourage Australians to swap their day jobs for […]

  • Aviation
  • News

Christine O’Reilly to replace Peter Hay as chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation

Christine O’Reilly has been named as the new chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation (APAC) – the owner of Melbourne and Launceston Airports. According to a release, O’Reilly will replace Peter Hay on 1 October, who retires after five years as Chair of APAC. APAC CEO Lorie Argus said O’Reilly’s appointment comes at an exciting […]

  • Tourism

The number one thing you can’t forget if you’re going to Europe & The Olympics

As the Summer Olympics in Paris draws near, travel insurance comparison site Compare the Market is urging travellers to safeguard their European summer sports dreams by getting travel insurance for when the unexpected happens. While France seems like a decently safe country to visit, it’s crucial not to overlook the potential risks that could disrupt a holiday. From bed […]

  • Destinations
  • Partner Content

The Solomon Islands’ is ‘Kulture-plus’

Be grateful that your experience of 'headhunting' is limited to some random dude reaching out to you on LinkedIn.

Partner Content

by Travel Weekly

Travel Weekly
  • Cruise

Cruise Traveller’s new Scottish Highlands cruise tour package

Australian small ship cruising specialist, Cruise Traveller, offers a 20-night land and sea holiday in the UK aboard the Lord of the Glens. The tiny cruise line’s 52-guest boutique vessel, Lord of the Glens, is purpose-built to explore the intricate waterways and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. It boasts a rich, traditional ambience with polished […]

  • Cruise

Celebrity Xcel’s keel-laying ceremony in France, with 2025 inaugural sail planned

Construction has commenced on Celebrity Cruises’ next ship, Celebrity Xcel, with a keel-laying ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. An Edge Series ship, Celebrity Xcel will set sail in autumn 2025, with several new yet-to-be-revealed offerings. At the ceremony, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), the parent […]

  • Destinations
  • Tour Operators

Globus unveils nine new independent tours for 2025

Coach touring brand Globus has unveiled nine new independent tours for 2025, from Bangkok to Bali and Abu Dhabi to Nepal. “With Globus Independent tours, our guests are free to enjoy the many benefits of touring, untethered and unscheduled,” APAC head of marketing, Globus family of brands (GFOB), Chris Fundell said. “Providing hand-picked hotel accommodations, […]

  • Hotels

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group opens Mandarin Oriental Mayfair

The Mandarin Oriental has opened a second property in London, the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, in the heart of historic Hanover Square. Designed by internationally renowned Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, the hotel is the first new build in Mayfair in over a decade. Bringing a modern architectural approach to one of London’s most storied squares, […]