Qantas shares on watch after chair Richard Goyder finally steps down

Public fury forces three other board members to also exit in a massive leadership renewal.

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Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) shares will be watched keenly on Wednesday after under-fire chair Richard Goyder revealed in the morning he would step down from the board, along with three other directors.

After weeks of scandals for the airline and steadfast declarations he wasn't going anywhere, Goyder has bowed to public and shareholder pressure in announcing his retirement.

However, it could be some time before it actually happens, with the airline merely stating he would retire "prior to the annual general meeting in late 2024".

Fellow board members Jacqueline Hey and Maxine Brenner will exit at the half-year results in February. Earlier this year Michael L'Estrange announced he would retire at the 2023 AGM next month.

In addition to the four departing directors, two existing board members will offer themselves up for reelection in November.

According to Qantas, the board renewal is taking place "in recognition of the reputational issues facing the group and to support restoration of trust in the company".

Doug Parker, Dr Heather Smith, and chief executive Vanessa Hudson will put themselves up to join the board at the AGM next month.

Scandal after scandal takes its toll on Qantas shares

Qantas shares have plunged a horrifying 26.8% since 24 July after some of its business practices came under public scrutiny.

Highlights of the transgressions include illegally sacking almost 1,700 employees, allegedly selling tickets to cancelled flights, a now-reversed decision to expire $500 million worth of customer credits, and its wooing of politicians for favourable treatment.

Under public pressure, long-time chief Alan Joyce was forced to bring forward his departure to hand over to Hudson last month.

Many critics also called for Goyder to do the same, which he had resisted until Wednesday morning.

He admitted on Wednesday that "accountability is required to restore trust".

"Qantas has gone through an incredibly difficult period since our operation was grounded during the pandemic," he said.

"The recovery has not been easy, and mistakes were made. We again apologise for those times where we got it wrong."

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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