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Former Qantas CEO contender & Loyalty boss Olivia Wirth resigns; Group names new HR head

The Qantas Group has appointed new Chief People Officer Catherine Walsh following an extensive search as Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth announced her resignation from the role she has held since 2018 effective from February 2024.

The Qantas Group has appointed new Chief People Officer Catherine Walsh following an extensive search as Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth announced her resignation from the role she has held since 2018 effective from February 2024.

Under Ms Wirth, the Qantas Group’s Loyalty division, which includes the 15 million-member Frequent Flyer program, saw significant growth.

Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson said: “Olivia’s contribution to this company over many years has been enormous. As CEO of Loyalty, she drove huge expansion of what the program offers and that shows in the growth in members and their engagement levels.”

Qantas
Former Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.

During her 14 years at Qantas, Ms Wirth held several senior roles, including Chief Customer Officer and Group Executive for Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs.

Ms Wirth said: “Qantas has been a massive part of my professional life and I’m really grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given over the years.”

“I’m extremely proud of what the team at Loyalty has achieved and I’m looking forward to delivering more improvements for members before I leave.”

The Group announced it will commence the process of appointing a new CEO of Qantas Loyalty shortly.

New Qantas Group HR head role

Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson
Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson.

New Chief People Officer Catherine Walsh joins the Qantas Group as part of the revised Group management structure announced in June 2023.

She brings 25 years’ experience in human resources and industrial relations at PwC, Australia Post, Downer and Spotless.

In the newly created role, which commences in January 2024, Ms Walsh will help drive a stronger relationship between Qantas and its 25,000 employees and the unions that represent them.

“Building a stronger culture and better relationships with our people is one of my highest priorities and a shared responsibility across management,” Ms Hudson said.

“As our Chief People Officer, Catherine will support those collective efforts by ensuring we always value the incredible contribution our people make to this organisation and listen to their insights, especially as we welcome thousands more to the Group to support our growth.”

“It’s an honour to join the Qantas Group in such an important role and at a pivotal time,” Ms Walsh said.

“I’ve spent a lot of time on Qantas flights and the dedication and professionalism of the people always shines through so I look forward to being part of the broader team.”

Find out more at qantas.com