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Air New Zealand appoints new HR chief amid lay offs

written by Adam Thorn | April 7, 2020

An Air New Zealand A320 (Victor Pody)

Air New Zealand has appointed a new head of HR as the company grapples with laying off a third of its employees.

Joe McCollum, who held a similar role at local telco Spark, will take over as chief people officer from Jodie King on 14 April.

The airline has also assembled a “Special Assistance Team” comprised of several hundred volunteer employees to support colleagues affected by COVID-19.

Last month, the national flag carrier announced it would lay off 3,500 staff and hinted it would emerge from the coronavirus crisis as a substantially smaller airline.

Chief executive Greg Foran said, “Joe is no stranger to the type of large scale, rapid workplace change that Air New Zealand has ahead in the wake of COVID-19. He will be a key member of the team to rebuild our airline.”


McCollum’s CV includes stints heading HR for global chemicals giant ICI in London and spells across the software, music and media industries.

The business also announced it’s contracted employment relations consultant Paul Diver would work with McCollum on the “workforce change management process” currently underway.

Meanwhile, the Special Assistance Team, deployed to offer assistance following the White Island tragedy in December, will provide welfare support to Air New Zealanders who are unwell or self-isolating without support or access to basic needs.

General manager Darren Evans said, “This support means regular check-ins and delivering essential groceries or picking up medical supplies/prescriptions when required.

“COVID-19 has caused massive social change and sees us in an environment of uncertainty and disrupted daily routines. This will naturally have a big impact on our physical and mental health, so we’ve deployed a range of tools for our staff to access to help navigate the unsettling and uncertain times we are facing right now.”

On 2 April, Australian Aviation reported that Air New Zealand has reduced its domestic services by 95 per cent from pre-coronavirus levels, operating just 43 return flights per week.

Previously, the carrier would have operated more than 400 domestic flights every day.

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Comments (3)

  • Andrew


    You might want to review your caption for that photo because that ‘787’ looks remarkably like an A320

  • Ian Becker


    Oops. That is an ANZ A320 – not a 787

    • Adam Thorn


      You’re totally correct! I’ve just updated. Thanks.

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