Vanessa Hudson, an Australian corporate leader, assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer at Qantas in 2023. Her association with the company dates back to 1994 when she initially joined the organization.
After becoming part of the airline, Hudson held several high-ranking roles, ultimately leading to her appointment as Qantas’ future CEO, slated to succeed Alan Joyce in November 2023. Hudson was poised to make history as the first female CEO of Qantas. However, on September 5, 2023, Joyce’s early departure was announced in light of allegations that the company may have sold tickets for flights that were previously canceled. Consequently, Hudson assumed her new role as CEO the following day.
Height-5feet 4inch (approx.)
Born- 1969 or 1970
Birthplace- Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Profession- Business executive
Title-Chief Executive Officer
Known for-First female CEO of Qantas
Information regarding Vanessa Hudson’s parents remains undisclosed, as she maintains a private stance on her personal life and family.
Husband and Children
Vanessa Hudson is in a marital partnership with Mark Hudson, and together they are parents to two grown-up daughters.
In 1991, Hudson completed her Bachelor of Business degree at the University of Technology Sydney. Subsequently, in 1994, she earned membership in the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.
After a two-year stint working in external audits at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Hudson commenced her Qantas journey in 1994 as an internal audit supervisor. She then progressed to the role of finance controller within Qantas’ commercial division.
In 1997, she assumed the position of catering product manager before her elevation to executive manager of product and services in 2005. During her tenure as Qantas’s executive manager of commercial planning, Hudson was called as a witness in an emergency Fair Work Australia hearing regarding the 2011 Qantas industrial disputes, which had a significant impact on airline passengers.
In 2013, Hudson relocated to Los Angeles after being appointed as the senior vice-president of Qantas’s American arm. She returned to Australia in 2016, taking on the role of executive manager of sales and distribution. Her contributions were recognized when she served as one of the judges for the Australian Financial Review’s “100 Women of Influence” in 2018.
In February 2018, she assumed the position of chief customer officer before subsequently becoming the chief financial officer of the Qantas Group. In her role as CFO, Hudson navigated various challenges, including Perth Airport’s legal action against the airline in 2018, which was eventually resolved in the Supreme Court of Western Australia. She also had to address challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on global oil prices, which prompted the airline to implement a hedging strategy.
In May 2023, it was announced that Hudson would succeed Alan Joyce as the CEO of Qantas, marking a historic moment as the first woman to lead the company. Initially, her official appointment as Qantas CEO was scheduled for the conclusion of Joyce’s 15-year tenure at the annual general meeting in November 2023. However, her appointment was expedited following Joyce’s early departure in September.
Net Worth 2023
Vanessa Hudson has accumulated an approximate net worth of $12.5 million.
Vanessa Hudson’s Turbulence Strategy as a Qantas CEO
In the preceding month, Vanessa Hudson, Qantas’ incoming CEO, delivered a heartfelt farewell to Alan Joyce during a conference call with stockbroking analysts. This tribute came in the wake of the airline’s announcement of a record-breaking $2.47 billion pre-tax profit for the full year.
Vanessa Hudson, who holds a business degree in accounting and finance from UTS, has been a part of the Qantas family since 1994, starting as an auditor and gradually ascending through various roles, including catering product manager, in-flight services general manager, vice president of the Americas, chief customer officer, and chief financial officer.
Today, she assumes the role of CEO at Qantas, becoming the airline’s first female CEO and only the fourth since it went public in 1995. While this should be a moment of celebration for the airline, Qantas is currently grappling with reputational damage and a crisis of trust. This stems from public outrage over a flight credit issue and revelations that Qantas sold a significant number of tickets for flights it had already canceled in the previous year.
Originally, Hudson was slated to take over as CEO on November 3 at the company’s annual meeting. However, Alan Joyce stepped down prematurely due to public backlash. Now, the key question revolves around whether Hudson, a member of Joyce’s senior management team during the scandals, can genuinely chart a new course for the airline.
While appointing an internal candidate as CEO can provide continuity in corporate culture, Qantas cannot afford to maintain its previous culture, which has been criticized as arrogant and disconnected from customer concerns.
The next crucial move for Hudson, in demonstrating her resolve to address Qantas’ problems, is to cooperate with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) rather than contesting its allegations. The ACCC has accused Qantas of deceptive conduct related to the sale of fares for canceled flights and is seeking substantial penalties. Cooperation with the ACCC is seen as essential, especially if the misconduct was deliberate.
Alan Joyce’s leadership was characterized by a confrontational style and a focus on profitability. Hudson’s appointment has raised hopes for a more collaborative approach, but it’s important to note that she was involved in the 2011 industrial dispute, suggesting that assertiveness is a common trait among CEOs of large listed companies.
Qantas’ chairman, Richard Goyder, has expressed the intent to instill more humility and customer-centricity into the airline’s management and board following Joyce’s departure and Hudson’s appointment. The two steps mentioned above could contribute to achieving this goal.
Ultimately, for a fresh start, Hudson may want to revisit her own words from 2018 when she served as Qantas’ chief customer officer, emphasizing the importance of trust in the Qantas brand and the need to champion the spirit of Australia through both actions and service delivery.