Qantas will have a new chairman from October, with Leigh Clifford to retire after more than a decade in the role and to be replaced by Richard Goyder.
Clifford, who has been chairman of Qantas and a board member since 2007, will step down as a director of the company at the annual general meeting in October 2018, Qantas said on Thursday.
The former Rio Tinto chief executive said he was leaving Qantas at a time when it had “never been in a stronger position”.
“That’s a credit to the management team and the 30,000 employees that make up the Qantas Group family,” Clifford said in a statement.
“It has been an absolute privilege to lead the Qantas Board for these past 11 years.”
In addition to being a director of Qantas, Clifford is also on the board of Bechtel Group Inc and Bechtel Australia Pty Ltd (as chairman).
He also sits on the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) council of trustees and is chairman of the NGV’s foundation board.
It was under Clifford’s chairmanship that the Qantas board appointed Alan Joyce as chief executive in 2008, replacing Geoff Dixon.
And Clifford, along with the board, supported Joyce’s decision to ground the Qantas fleet in 2011 as part of an industrial dispute with unions.
Since then, the company has been through a transformation program, taken delivery of new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and inaugurated the first nonstop flights linking the continents of Australia and Europe with regularly scheduled passenger service.
Goyder honoured to be named chairman
Goyder’s elevation to chairman comes less than a year since he was first appointed to the Qantas board in November 2017.
His other directorships include being chairman of Woodside Petroleum and the Australian Football League.
“Qantas is an iconic Australian company and one of the best performing airline groups in the world,” Goyder said.
“I’m honoured to be named its Chairman and look forward to working with my Board colleagues to help it take advantage of the opportunities ahead.”
The Qantas annual general meeting will be held on October 26.