Qantas names chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson next CEO

Qantas says Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson will become its next chief executive

SYDNEY — Australian airline Qantas Group said Tuesday Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson will become its next chief executive and managing director, replacing Alan Joyce in November.

Hudson has been with the airline in various roles for 28 years.

Joyce was appointed Qantas CEO in 2008 and agreed in 2020 to remain at the helm through the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s not many female CEOs in the worldwide aviation industry and it’s a credit to this country that a gay Irishman was appointed 15 years ago to be CEO of the company and now we have the first female, and it’s a credit to the board,” Joyce said.

Hudson said her focus would be “delivering for our customers.”

After three years of statutory losses due to the pandemic, Qantas in February returned to profit, posting an underlying pre-tax half-year result of 1.43 billion Australian dollars ($978 million) for the six months through December.

Qantas has had 12 CEOs during its 103-year history.

Hudson served as chief financial officer through the start of the pandemic, which Qantas chair Richard Goyder said was “probably the most challenging period and tumultuous period in the airline’s history.”

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