Asia-Pacific

New Qantas CEO Must Build on Predecessor’s Legacy

Edward Russell

May 2nd, 2023 at 2:27 PM EDT


Qantas and American jets taxi in Dallas-Fort Worth

There are few airlines that are held as high in the national consciousness as Qantas Airways is in Australia. That's why the airline's first new CEO in 15 years is such a big deal.

Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO since 2008, will pass the reins to group veteran Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson in November. She will inherit an airline that is not only an iconic national brand but one that has emerged strong from the pandemic. During the first six months of the Qantas 2023 fiscal year, the airline posted an A$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) operating profit and a 16 percent operating margin, besting its results in 2019. The airline expects a profit for the full fiscal year that ends in June.

Hudson will also, notably, be the airline's first female CEO. And it will be the first time in Australian aviation history that the country's two largest airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia, are led by women. Jayne Hrdlicka leads Virgin Australia.

"This is an exceptional company full of incredibly talented people and it’s very well positioned for the future," Hudson said in a statement. "My focus will be delivering for those we rely on and who rely on us – our customers, our employees,

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