Monday, March 03, 2014

Qantas: Sack the Board, Nationalise the Company

Its disastrous flirtation with neoliberalism has had anything but a romantic ending for Qantas.

The once Australian government-owned national carrier, with its exemplary safety record, had its wings clipped courtesy of Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating’s privatisation decision.

It is now destined for foreign ownership, or worse, at the hands of the nation-wreckers in the Liberal Party who, in the space of months, have overseen the closure or threatened closure of General Motors-Holden, Toyota, SPC Ardmona and anything else that doesn’t taste of chocolate.

Under CEO Alan Joyce and his scary band of Directors, morale at Qantas has plummeted and jobs have been thrown out the window.

In a post following his grounding of the entire operations in 2011 (see: ( ) I called for Qantas to be nationalised, and identified the members of its Board as “a war cabinet of the most reactionary, best organised and openly aggressive sections of the ruling class.”

Please note: best organised does not equate to most competent.

At least two of its directors bear that out:  Gary Hounsell and Paul Rayner are both on the board of the very underperforming Treasury Wines Ltd.

Before we look more into the Board, the case for re-nationalising Qantas must be stated.

An island nation requires the security of controlling the means by which its citizens may depart from or return to the country.

It cannot place itself at the commercial or political mercy of foreign-owned carriers.

A government that placed the interests of its citizens before those of foreign capital would maintain a national airline.

We do not have such a government, or the remotest prospect of having one, given that Liberal and Labor are two arms on the same body, the brain of which is incapable of thinking from the perspective of the independence of the nation and the rights of the people.

Too much attention is focussed in debates around Qantas’ performance on the CEO, Alan Joyce.

Sure, his ancestors probably sold gunpowder to the British, but look at his collaborators.

Notice their interlocking directorships and ties to finance capital, to mining and energy, to construction, to the reactionary anti-working class legal firm Freehills and corporate criminals like the tobacco companies. 

These are profiles of the ruling class, the class whose members only have one vote like the rest of us, but who rule by virtue of the great mismatch between the political and economic forms of democracy.

It is a mismatch that can only be reconciled through the ownership of economic assets by a state led by the working class, imho.

Leigh Clifford, AO

BEng, MEngSci

Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director

 Leigh Clifford was appointed to the Qantas Board in August 2007 and as Chairman in November 2007.

He is Chairman of the Qantas Nominations Committee.

Mr Clifford is a Director of Bechtel Group Inc. and Chairman of Bechtel Australia Pty Ltd and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. He is a Senior Advisor to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, a Board Member of the National Gallery of Victoria Foundation and a Member of the Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria. Mr Clifford was previously a Director of Barclays Bank plc.

Mr Clifford was Chief Executive of Rio Tinto from 2000 to 2007. He retired from the Board of Rio Tinto in 2007 after serving as a Director of Rio Tinto plc and Rio Tinto Limited for 13 and 12 years respectively. His executive and board career with Rio Tinto spanned some 37 years, in Australia and overseas.

Age: 66


Alan Joyce

BApplSc(Phy)(Math)(Hons), MSc(MgtSc), MA, FRAeS, FTSE

Chief Executive Officer

 Alan Joyce was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Qantas in November 2008.

He is a Member of the Safety, Health, Environment and Security Committee.

Mr Joyce is a Director of the Business Council of Australia and a Member of the International Air Transport Association's Board of Governors (having served as Chairman of IATA from 2012 to 2013). He is also a Director of a number of controlled entities of the Qantas Group.

Mr Joyce was the CEO of Jetstar from 2003 to 2008. Before that, Mr Joyce spent over 15 years in leadership positions with Qantas, Ansett and Aer Lingus. At both Qantas and Ansett, he led the network planning, schedules planning and network strategy functions. Prior to that, Mr Joyce spent eight years at Aer Lingus, where he held roles in sales, marketing, IT, network planning, operations research, revenue management and fleet planning.

Age: 47

Maxine Brenner


Independent Non-Executive Director

 Maxine Brenner was appointed to the Qantas Board in August 2013.

She is a Member of the Remuneration Committee and the Audit Committee.

Ms Brenner is a Director of Origin Energy Limited, Orica Limited, Growthpoint Properties Australia Limited and the State Library of NSW Foundation. She is also a Member of the Advisory Panel of the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales.

Ms Brenner was previously a Managing Director of Investment Banking at Investec Bank (Australia) Limited, the Deputy Chairman of Federal Airports Corporation and a Director of Neverfail Springwater Limited, Bulmer Australia Limited and Treasury Corporation of NSW. She also served as a Member of the Australian Government's Takeovers Panel.

Earlier, she practised as a lawyer with Freehills and was a law lecturer at the Universities of New South Wales and Sydney.

Age: 51

Richard Goodmanson

BEng(Civil), BCom, BEc, MBA

Independent Non-Executive Director

 Richard Goodmanson was appointed to the Qantas Board in June 2008.

He is Chairman of the Safety, Health, Environment and Security Committee and a Member of the Nominations Committee.

Mr Goodmanson is a Director of Rio Tinto plc and Rio Tinto Limited.

From 1999 to 2009 he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Previous to this role, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of America West Airlines. Mr Goodmanson was also previously Senior Vice President of Operations for Frito-Lay Inc. and was a Principal at McKinsey & Company Inc. He spent 10 years in heavy civil engineering project management, principally in South East Asia.

Mr Goodmanson was born in Australia and is a citizen of both Australia and the United States.

Age: 66

Jacqueline Hey

BCom, Assoc Dip (Marketing), GAICD

Independent Non-Executive Director

 Jacqueline Hey was appointed to the Qantas Board in August 2013.

She is a Member of the Audit Committee.

Ms Hey is a Director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited and is Chairman of its Change & Technology Committee and a Member of its Audit and Risk Committees. She is also a Director of the Australian Foundation Investment Company Limited, Special Broadcasting Service, Melbourne Business School and Cricket Australia, and a Member of the ASIC Director Advisory Panel.

Ms Hey is the Honorary Consul for Sweden in Victoria.

Between 2004 and 2010, Ms Hey was Managing Director of various Ericsson entities in Australia and New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland and the Middle East. Her executive career with Ericsson spanned for more than 20 years in which she held finance, marketing, sales and leadership roles.

Age: 47

Garry Hounsell


Independent Non-Executive Director

 Garry Hounsell was appointed to the Qantas Board in January 2005.

He is Chairman of the Audit Committee and a Member of the Nominations Committee.

Mr Hounsell is Chairman of PanAust Limited and a Director of DuluxGroup Limited and Treasury Wine Estates Limited. He is also Chairman of Investec Global Aircraft Fund and a Director of Ingeus Limited.

Mr Hounsell was formerly a Director of Orica Limited and Nufarm Limited and Deputy Chairman of Mitchell Communication Group Limited. He was also a former Senior Partner of Ernst & Young, Chief Executive Officer and Country Managing Partner of Arthur Andersen and a Board Member of law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

Age: 59

William Meaney


Independent Non-Executive Director

 William Meaney was appointed to the Qantas Board in February 2012.

He is a Member of the Safety, Health, Environment and Security Committee and the Remuneration Committee

Mr Meaney is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Iron Mountain Inc. He is a Member of the Asia Business Council and also serves as Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Mr Meaney was formerly the Chief Executive Officer of The Zuellig Group and a Director of moksha8 Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He was also the Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer of Swiss International Airlines and Executive Vice President of South African Airways responsible for sales, alliances and network management.

Prior to these roles, Mr Meaney spent 11 years providing strategic advisory services at Genhro Management Consultancy, as the Founder and Managing Director, and as a Principal with Strategic Planning Associates.

Mr Meaney holds United States, Swiss and Irish citizenships.

Age: 53

Paul Rayner

BEc, MAdmin, FAICD

Independent Non-Executive Director

 Paul Rayner was appointed to the Qantas Board in July 2008.

He is Chairman of the Remuneration Committee and a Member of the Nominations Committee.

Mr Rayner is Chairman of Treasury Wine Estates Limited and a Director of Centrica plc. He is also a Director of Boral Limited and Chairman of its Audit Committee.

From 2002 to 2008, Mr Rayner was Finance Director of British American Tobacco plc based in London. Mr Rayner joined Rothmans Holdings Limited in 1991 as its Chief Financial Officer and held other senior executive positions within the Group, including Chief Operating Officer of British American Tobacco Australasia Limited from 1999 to 2001.

Previously Mr Rayner worked for 17 years in various finance and project roles with General Electric, Rank Industries and the Elders IXL Group.

Age: 60

Barbara Ward, AM

BEc, MPolEc

Independent Non-Executive Director

 Barbara Ward was appointed to the Qantas Board in June 2008.

She is a Member of the Safety, Health, Environment and Security Committee and the Audit Committee.

Ms Ward is a Director of a number of Brookfield Multiplex Group companies, O'Connell Street Associates Pty Ltd and the Sydney Children's Hospital Foundation.

She was formerly a Director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Lion Nathan Limited, Brookfield Multiplex Limited, Allco Finance Group Limited, Rail Infrastructure Corporation, Delta Electricity, Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy. She was also Chairman of Country Energy and NorthPower, a Board Member of Allens Arthur Robinson and on the Advisory Board of LEK Consulting.

Ms Ward was Chief Executive Officer of Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services from 1993 to 1998. Before that, Ms Ward held various positions at TNT Limited, including General Manager Finance, and also served as a Senior Ministerial Adviser to The Hon PJ Keating.

Age: 60


So, away with all these parasites!

Let’s soar through the skies on the wings of independence and socialism.

You know it will happen, and so do I….

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