The Qantas chairman’s extraordinary blunder when he pronounced the WRONG name while announcing mother-of-two as CEO – and why it went down like a lead balloon
- Qantas chairman announces wrong CEO
- Vanessa Hudson takes over from Alan Joyce
The chairman of Qantas has made an embarrassing mistake when announcing the new CEO of the major national airline.
Chairman Richard Goyder spoke at a press conference on Tuesday following the decision of current Qantas CEO Alan Joyce to step down from his position in November.
At the end of the press conference, Goyder was joined by Joyce and his successor Vanessa Hudson when he reportedly tried to offer a few words of encouragement, which soon fell through.
“Although it’s never easy, the board is convinced that Olivia is the right person to take Qantas forward,” he said.
Olivia is Olivia Wirth, the head of the airline’s loyalty program and second in the CEO selection process.
Vanessa Hudson will take on the role of CEO of Qantas later this year
It was Goyder’s second announcement this week, after anointing new AFL CEO Andrew Dillon on Tuesday
Ms. Hudson – who will become Qantas’ first female CEO – is the airline’s chief financial officer and has been with the company for 28 years.
Along with Ms. Wirth, Cameron Wallace, the CEO of Qantas International and Freight, was also in the running to take over the airline.
Ms Hudson, a mother of two, said it was an ‘honour’ to step into the esteemed role.
“This is an exceptional company full of incredibly talented people and it is very well positioned for the future,” she said.
“My focus will be to deliver for those we rely on and who rely on us – our customers, our employees, our shareholders and the communities we serve.”
She started her career at Qantas in 1994 as Internal Audit Supervisor.
Current Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has drawn both praise and criticism during his tenure
Mr Joyce was credited with helping turn the airline’s fortunes around, including delivering skyrocketing profits
Mr Joyce, who has held the top position since 2008, had said in February that he intended to stay on at least until the end of this year.
He is credited with helping turn the airline’s fortunes around, including delivering huge profits after it emerged from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic
However, he also sparked controversy over his battles with unions, including over a 2020 decision to outsource the jobs of about 1,600 ground workers.
The Federal Court ruled that the pandemic-era move was illegal, a decision the airline has appealed to the Supreme Court.