Despite calls from multiple stakeholder groups for him to step down immediately, the chair of the Qantas board, Richard Goyder will remain at the helm until he retires at the 2024 annual general meeting. His impending retirement was announced by Qantas this morning.
The Transport Workers Union, the Australian and International Pilots Association and the Australian Shareholders Association have all publicly recommended that Goyder step down as the airline has faced a barrage of legal proceedings.
In September Qantas lost its final appeal in a workplace relations case relating to the outsourcing of ground crew and it is currently facing a class action from customers over its COVID travel credits and federal court action from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over selling flights that had already been cancelled and failing to notify customers of cancellations immediately.
Between now and the end of summer, three other members of the 10-person Qantas board will depart. Michael L’Estrange is to retire from the board at this November’s AGM – a decision that was made in May before two of Qantas’ legal troubles came to public light – and two other board members, Jacqueline Hey and Maxine Brenner, will leave the board when the airline’s interim results are announced in February.
“As a Board, we acknowledge the significant reputational and customer service issues facing the Group and recognise that accountability is required to restore trust,” said Goyder as part of this morning’s announcement of the board changes.
“Qantas has gone through an incredibly difficult period since our operation was grounded during the pandemic. The recovery has not been easy, and mistakes were made. We again apologise for those times where we got it wrong.
“I have always sought to act in the best interests of Qantas. Measured and orderly succession at Board level will support the important work underway led by Vanessa [Hudson, new Qantas CEO] and her new management team. Fundamentally, the Group is in a very strong position to overcome its current challenges and deliver for all its stakeholders in the years ahead.”
The Transport Workers Union has already voiced unequivocal disapproval of Goyder staying in his role for another year.
“This announcement is an attempt by Goyder to leave in a dignified manner with another year’s pay in his pocket, after presiding over the largest case of illegal sackings in Australian history,” said TWU national secretary Michael Kaine
“This isn’t genuine board renewal this is just shuffling the deckchairs. We need to put an end to illegal conduct being blindly rubber-stamped by a board that fails to scrutinise the CEO who is treated as their equal by having a place on the board.
“A fresh start for Qantas governance requires a new board composition that excludes the CEO and embeds a worker representative to avoid the repeat of colossal errors of judgement being repeated.”