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Joyce era under the microscope in new book by veteran AFR journo

written by Jake Nelson | January 23, 2024

Then Qantas CEO Alan Joyce in the cockpit of a 787 Dreamliner in 2017. (Image: Qantas)

A new book about the downfall of former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is slated to be released in the second half of this year.

Written by former columnist for The Australian Financial Review  Joe Aston, The Chairman’s Lounge – published by Simon & Schuster – follows a “year-long campaign of investigative commentary on Qantas” which the publisher says led to the resignations of Joyce and chairman Richard Goyder.

“Joe’s incredible ability to not only break a story but to write about it evocatively made his column essential reading for anyone after the truth about how power, money and influence flow in this country,” said Ben Ball, publishing director at Simon & Schuster.

The Chairman’s Lounge will do the same over the long form, telling the bigger story of how one company – and a few key individuals – bought the nation’s loyalty and then cashed in on it.

“With fresh interviews and revelations, The Chairman’s Lounge is the definitive, compelling story of greed, power and hubris brought low – of how Qantas was brought to ground and who did it.”


The Chairman’s Lounge will be the second book on Qantas under Joyce published since the CEO’s resignation last year.

Aviation veteran Peter Harbison’s Alan Joyce and Qantas: The Trials and Transformation of an Australian Icon charted Joyce’s rise and fall from his early days at Qantas through his leadership of Jetstar to his tenure as CEO.

Speaking to Australian Aviation last year, Harbison said there was a “real prospect” that Joyce had saved Qantas from bankruptcy in the mid-2010s.

“That’s not to say that somebody else couldn’t have done that, but I’m not sure that anybody else would have had the vision and the guts to do what he did. They were in the depths of despair back in 2012,” he said.

“They were haemorrhaging money internationally. Domestically, [John] Borghetti had started Virgin up and it looked like it would be a real threat to Qantas. Joyce cut back a lot of staff and did transform that business over a period of three, four years. And that was, I think, the greatest achievement.”

Qantas’ reputation had suffered over the last few years of the Joyce era, sliding from Australia’s strongest brand in 2019 to 41st place this year, according to a study by consultancy firm Brand Finance.

The bad result for Qantas came months after the ACCC revealed it would take the airline to court over allegations it sold more than 8,000 tickets to flights it had already cancelled, and calling for a $250 million fine.

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