Alan Joyce’s Qantas departure tomorrow


“This transition comes at what is obviously a challenging time for Qantas and its people. We have an important job to do in restoring the public’s confidence in the kind of company we are, and that’s what the board is focused on, and what the management under Vanessa’s leadership will do.”

The dramatic exit follows a tumultuous month for Qantas. Two weeks ago, the airline posted a record $2.47 billion profit for the 2023 financial year. Days later, Joyce faced a fierce grilling from a Senate inquiry before the competition watchdog launched action in the Federal Court against the airline on Thursday, alleging Qantas sold tickets for flights that had already been cancelled.

Minister for Industrial Relations Tony Burke said Qantas had long abused a loophole in labour hire regulation in a “pretty extraordinary way”.

“My objective is to make sure that people at Qantas are paid fairly. I look forward to working with the new CEO, Vanessa Hudson,” he said.

“When enterprise agreements are made and agreed to by Qantas, I want them to reflect what is paid at the workplace.”

Labor Senator Tony Sheldon – a fierce critic of Joyce and former Transport Workers Union stalwart – said Joyce’s retirement was welcomed, but Goyder should also step down.

“Alan Joyce’s legacy is a workforce split across 38 companies and a brand now synonymous with low pay, insecure work, illegal sackings and consumer rip-offs,” Sheldon said.

“The board has backed Joyce’s behaviour at every step and must be held equally accountable for the disgraceful state of the company.

“If Qantas is serious about turning over a new leaf, they will reinstate the 1700 illegally sacked workers and support closing Joyce’s labour-hire loophole”.

Sheldon also said Joyce’s bonus should be axed. Joyce is expected to be paid up to $24 million, when accounting for his long and short-term bonuses and his base salary, in November.

The airline on Friday disclosed to the sharemarket that Joyce had been issued 1.7 million Qantas shares, worth more than $10 million, for hitting key financial targets. The reward was part of Joyce’s bonuses from 2020, 2021 and 2022, and a separate incentive scheme the airline unveiled during the pandemic.

Joyce is also eligible for a short-term bonus of up to $4.3 million for this financial year. This figure is in addition to his long-term bonus, about $18 million worth of shares that he has already been granted, and his yet-to-be-announced base salary. The total figure on his remuneration will not be known until the company issues its annual report later this month, with a detailed breakdown of executive remuneration.

Shareholders have never voted against Joyce’s remuneration since he was appointed chief executive in 2008, despite multiple calls from proxy advisors, politicians and unions over the years. The board has recently been pressured by Labor MPs, and institutional advisors to consider withholding his short-term bonus. 


The Australian and International Pilots Association president Tony Lucas said he was confident Hudson can “rebuild” the airline. The association represents pilots employed by Qantas and Jetstar.

“There is much work to be done. However, we trust that Ms Hudson recognises the power of respecting and valuing all Qantas staff and how that can play a significant role in the renewal of the airline.”

“The Spirit of Australia may be deflated, but it is not defeated and if we all work together, I’m confident Qantas can be great once more.”

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