Qantas has nabbed incoming Optus corporate affairs boss Danielle Keighery just two weeks before she was set to start at the embattled telecommunications giant.
On Tuesday, Ms Keighery was announced as the national carrier’s new chief corporate affairs and communications officer,
Ms Keighery had previously headed the corporate affairs team at casino operator Crown Resorts, and prior to that, 17 years at rival airline Virgin.
Ms Keighery will succeed Andrew McGinnes, who last week resigned from his post after 13 years with the airline.
In a statement, Qantas chief executive Vanessa Hudson welcomed Ms Keighery’s appointment, noting her broader expertise in building corporate reputation, enhancing customer experience, and driving cultural change.
“Danielle has a wealth of experience leading corporate affairs functions for major organisations in both Australia and overseas,” Ms Hudson said.
“Danielle also has a deep understanding of aviation, having held a number of senior executive roles at Virgin Australia during more than a decade with the airline … I know she’ll make a valuable contribution to the Qantas Group as part of our leadership team.”
Ms Keighery joins the airline after a tumultuous few months, which has seen its brand significantly tarnished following a host of controversies.
Most prominently, it is alleged that the airline sold fares for services that it never intended to operate, and that it stymied competition in the sector by opposing bids by rival airline Qatar to increase its capacity to Australia.
The appointment of a new corporate affairs lead follows significant renewal among the airline’s leadership.
In September, Ms Hudson commenced as the group’s chief executive, replacing longstanding airline boss Alan Joyce, who brought forward his resignation to assist with the company’s renewal.
Olivia Wirth, chief executive of the airline’s loyalty arm, has resigned to be replaced by Andrew Glance, while Rachel Yangoyan was appointed chief of QantasLink in November, replacing John Gissing.
Following the retirement of Andrew David, head of Qantas’ domestic business, former chief customer officer Markus Svensson was promoted, with Catriona Larritt in turn filling the CCO role.
Qantas chair Richard Goyder has also announced he will stand down from his position before its next annual general meeting, scheduled for November.
Ms Keighery will commence her new role on March 1, with Mr McGinnes set to leave later this year to provide a transition period.
The appointment leaves Optus without a corporate affairs head as it also attempts to rebuild its reputation following a network-wide outage that caused the telco to shed customers to its rival and forced its then-chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin to quit.
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