Former DHL Express boss John Mullen to replace outgoing Qantas chairman

Former DHL Express boss John Mullen to replace outgoing Qantas chairman

Incoming Qantas chairman John Mullen

Qantas Airways (ASX: QAN) has named John Mullen the new chairman to replace Richard Goyder as the boardroom shake-up continues for the airline.

Mullen, whose corporate career includes a stint as chair of Telstra (ASX: TLS), is currently chairman of Treasury Wine Estates (ASX: TWE) and Brambles (ASX: BXB).

His appointment follows the announcement in October last year that Goyder would retire from the role this year amid a board renewal process that was triggered by the departure of former CEO Alan Joyce in September.

Goyder remains a key figure of the old guard that oversaw a string of reputational disasters in recent years for Qantas. He will retire ahead of the company’s annual general meeting in October.

Mullen is initially joining the Qantas board from 1 July 2024 as non-executive director and chairman elect, with plans to assume the chairman’s role ahead of the AGM.

The company says Mullen intends to scale back his other corporate commitments as he eases into the role. Mullen, who has also had chief executive roles at freight rail logistics group Asciano and DHL Express, only joined the Treasury Wine Estates board in May last year and assumed the chairmanship in October.

In tandem with the appointment announced today, Qantas has also named Dr Nora Scheinkestel as a non-executive director and chair of the remuneration committee.

Both Mullen and Scheinkestel’s appointments will be put to a shareholder vote at the group's annual general meeting.

“Careful management of the board renewal process has been an important part of guiding Qantas through this intense period, and the selection of a new chair reflects a new chapter,” says Goyder.

The current chairman notes that Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson has ‘made progress towards delivering better outcomes for customers’.

“I’m confident that momentum will continue with the guidance of new board members of such high calibre.

“John brings a wealth of experience as a director and chairman of similarly large and complex companies to Qantas, as well as great depth from his long executive career in the transport sector both here and overseas. He is the right choice to lead the national carrier into its next phase.”

The new appointments will follow the retirement of Qantas directors Maxine Brenner and Jacqueline Hey, who will step down after the company announces its half-year results tomorrow. The directors have been Qantas board members for the past decade.

“I’d like to recognise the huge contribution that Maxine and Jacquie have both made during their 10 years on the Qantas board, particularly during the unprecedented challenges we faced during the pandemic and in restarting the airline,” says Goyder.

“It’s an honour to serve on the Qantas board. The company’s history and purpose make it unique in corporate Australia, and so does the incredible passion of everyone who is part of it.

“There’s still much work to do but it is an amazing company with a bright future.”

Mullen describes his appointment as Qantas chairman as an ‘extraordinary privilege’.

“It is a company that I have admired all my life and I am greatly looking forward to helping Vanessa and the management team take the company to new heights of service and performance excellence,” he says.

“I am conscious of the time commitment that this prestigious role requires and will be adjusting my other professional obligations to ensure that I can be fully focussed on this exciting challenge.

“Qantas has consistently featured as one of the world's very best airlines, and now that the pandemic is behind us and the airline industry gets back closer to normal, I have every confidence that Qantas will continue to excel.”

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