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Surprise as Qantas International chief executive resigns

April 12, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Qantas yesterday lost one of its most senior executives, seen by some as a possible successor to chief executive Alan Joyce.

Alison Webster resigned abruptly as chief executive of Qantas International, after just 18 months in the position.

The airline broke the news with the following brief statement:

The Qantas Group advises that Alison Webster has resigned as CEO of Qantas International, with her last day being 24 April 2019.

 Effective immediately, Mr Narendra Kumar, former CFO of Qantas International and currently overseeing planning for key changes to the airline’s long-haul fleet, will act in the role of Qantas International CEO until a permanent appointment is made.

The Australian Financial Review said that the only extra information that emerged from the airline was that the resignation was Webster’s decision.

The paper said Webster was an example of Joyce’s willingness “to move executives who had proven themselves in one area into demanding leadership roles in other parts of the company”.

Webster was appointed chief executive of Qantas International in November 2017, with more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry. She has held a variety of senior leadership roles in the Qantas group over the past decade and is highly regarded.

Alison Webster

Before her Qantas International role, Webster was the executive manager freight and catering, with Australian Airports added to her responsibilities in March 2017.

In this role she was responsible for three wholly owned specialty businesses, SnapFresh, an inflight catering and frozen food facility; JETS Transport Express, a national trucking business and Express Freighters Australia, a nine-freighter airline. She also managed Qantas’ Australian airport portfolio consisting of more than 50 airport locations.

Webster joined Qantas in 2004, initially as head of Qantas cabin crew, moving to the position of executive manager, customer experience in 2010.

Before joining Qantas in 2004, Webster held a range of senior positions at British Airways in both Australia and the UK, including sales, marketing and brand management.

Written by Peter Needham

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