Qantas picks first female CEO to lead the airline

STORY: Australia's largest airline, Qantas, has picked a woman to be its new CEO.

Vanessa Hudson is set to take over from current CEO Alan Joyce in November.

“I am so passionate about Qantas, I have worked for Qantas for 28 years."

Hudson joined Qantas in 1994 and has held several senior roles there, including Chief Financial Officer and Chief Customer Officer.

Qantas' Chairman said her outstanding handling of the finance and treasury portfolio during the COVID crisis put her ahead of dozens of other candidates short-listed for the job.

“We are in an incredibly strong position, we’ve got many things in the pipeline. That’s not to say that the past three years haven’t been challenging, they have and there will be many challenges I’m sure ahead. But my focus when I step into the role in November is going to be focused on delivering for customers."

Hudson's appointment makes her one of the few female executives leading a major company in Australia, although rival carrier Virgin Australia also has a woman CEO.

Hudson replaces Joyce, who has been in the role for 15 years.

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

The airline faced a reputational crisis during the pandemic for flight cancellations, cutting jobs and accepting financial support from the government.