Qantas CEO Alan Joyce announced he’s stepping down on Monday, two months earlier than his departure date.
Qantas’ CEO is stepping down from his role two months early and will receive a $24 million bonus.
The airline was sued last week for listing and selling tickets for flights it knew were canceled.
Political figures and union bosses have slammed the CEO’s bonus saying he should be “stripped” of it “immediately.”
Alan Joyce, CEO of Australian national airline Qantas, is facing criticism for the $24 million golden goodbye he will receive after announcing that he is stepping down from his role early on Monday.
Australia’s flagship carrier Qantas revealed Monday that Joyce is bringing forward his retirement by two months and will be succeeded by CEO designate Vanessa Hudson on September 6, according to a press release.
“In the last few weeks, the focus on Qantas and events of the past make it clear to me that the company needs to move ahead with its renewal as a priority,” Joyce said in the release.
Joyce’s retirement came a week after the airline was sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for listing and selling tickets for flights that it already knew were canceled.
The complaint said that the airline listed seats on at least 8,000 flights for an average of 16 days after cancellation between May 2021 and July 2022, per Insider.
Tony Sheldon, Australian Labor Party senator and former secretary of the Transport Worker’s Union of Australia, slammed Joyce’s $24 million golden handshake and called on the Qantas board and shareholders to “knock Mr Joyce’s bonus off,” according to Australian Aviation.
“If the Board allows Mr Joyce to walk away with $24 million after illegally sacking 1,700 people, gouging customers and while subject to an ACCC prosecution, it will be the swindle of the century,” Sheldon said.
He added: “Qantas’ illegally outsourced baggage handlers earn $65,000 per year. If Mr Joyce walks away with his $24 million, he will make their annual salary in less than 6 hours.”
Joyce earned $125 million over the 15 years he spent as Qantas’ CEO and was even ranked the highest-paid CEO in Australia in 2018, Sky News Australia reported.
Michael Kaine, the current secretary of the Transport Workers Union, also had scathing remarks for Joyce saying “he must be stripped of those bonuses immediately,” per ABC News.
“Alan Joyce is slipping into retirement two months early with a $24 million pay packet, leaving one of the biggest messes in corporate Australia’s history in his wake,” he said.
Qantas has been the subject of scandal under Joyce’s leadership and was found to have violated the Fair Work Act in 2020 by Australia’s Federal Court.
The court ruled that the airline had illegally fired 1,683 employees in the process of outsourcing 2,000 ground handling jobs.