Earlier today saw Australia-based carrier Qantas [ASX: QAN] announce two more changes to it’s executive leadership team. Is this the continuation of trying to restore trust in the country?
We will take a look into these team changes, and see whether it will provide the Australian carrier with the catalyst to begin its reputational recovery.
Without further ado, let’s get into it…
Team Changes by Qantas…
The first change has come via the loyalty side of Qantas, where their CEO Olivia Wirth will be departing the business in February 2024 “to pursue other opportunities”.
It is understood that the process for her replacement will begin shortly on this. Wirth said the following on her departure from the Australia-based carrier:
“Qantas has been a massive part of my professional life and I’m really grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given over the years.”
“At its core, Qantas is an incredible company and brand and I’ve loved being part of it.”
“I’m extremely proud of what the team at Loyalty has achieved and I’m looking forward to delivering more improvements for members before I leave.”
The other change is pertinent to an announcement made back in June 2023 about the organisational structure of the Australia-based carrier adding a Chief People Officer.
It is understood that Catherine Walsh has been appointed this role, with her starting in January 2024, and has experience spanning at Post, Downer and Spotless.
“It’s an honour to be joining the Qantas Group in such an important role and at a pivotal time”, Walsh said.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on Qantas flights and the dedication and professionalism of the people always shines through, so I look forward to being part of the broader team.”
The Path to Restoring Trust in Australia Is Underway…
The change in direction on the loyalty front may not come as much of a surprise, given what was announced last month about COVID credits.
The Qantas Group advised that it will remove the expiry date on COVID travel credits that were due to run out at the end of this year.
To encourage more people to reconnect with their credits, from 4 September 2023, Qantas is offering double the standard number of Frequent Flyer Points for any flights booked with a Qantas COVID credit before 31 December 2023.
This element was something that outgoing CEO Alan Joyce was grilled about at Senate committee hearings.
The new Qantas Group CEO, Vanessa Hudson had this to say on the new appointment regarding loyalty at the Australia-based carrier:
“During COVID, Loyalty was one of the few parts of our business that was able to carry on, which took a lot of hard work and imagination.”
“There are many improvements for customers in the pipeline that Olivia will continue working on with her team over the next few months, as part of setting this part of the business up for continued success.”
There has been significant top-down change over the last few weeks and months, even as high as the boardroom at the Australia-based carrier.
Last week, it was revealed that the Chairman, Richard Goyder, had to announce his retirement from the airline.
At that time, he had this to say:
“As a Board, we acknowledge the significant reputational and customer service issues facing the Group and recognize that accountability is required to restore trust.”
“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 apologize for those times where we got it wrong.”
So the changes from today’s announcement do represent the continued changes that the Australia-based carrier Qantas is trying to make in order to restore the trust of the flying public and to return to some level of normalcy.
2023 is definitely a year that Qantas, the Australia-based carrier will be looking forward to seeing the back of.
From controversy surrounding selling tickets on flights that had already been cancelled, to the grilling and beating they have taken at the Australian Senate Committees, it’s been a rough year for them.
All eyes will be on the Australia-based carrier to see how the rest of the year will look like, and whether we could see anymore changes from them before the year ends.
This will come with the expectation that from 2024, they will aim to hit the ground running, start fresh, and begin to succeed once again.
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