Air New Zealand chief executive resigns

June 19, 2019
Air New Zealand boss sees improved business practices
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon. Photo: Steve Creedy

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon has resigned after seven years at the airline and will step down from the role on September 25.

Chairman Tony Carter, who is also leaving, said the board had started an international search for a new CEO and expected to announce the new appointment in the near future.

READ: Air New Zealand to get first female chairman.

Carter predicted the position would attract “many great candidates both internationally and within New Zealand”.

“Further, Christopher will be in the role until 25 September, and then he will move to advising and supporting the incoming chairman and new CEO so we have a seamless transition and are set up well for further success,”  he said.

Luxon said has was incredibly proud of what he had achieved during his tenure and would miss heading to work every day “to lead the aviation equivalent of 12,500 All Blacks”.

“Our customer centricity, commercial focus, and highly engaged culture have made Air New Zealand the most revered company in our part of the world as reflected in our corporate reputation rankings on both sides of the Tasman,” he said.

He said he had loved the responsibility and experience of leading the company over the past seven years.

“It has been intellectually challenging, people-centred and an absolute privilege to do this job,’’ he said.

“However, I do feel it is the right time for a new leader to take over and preserve and enhance the good things from our past, but also to put their own stamp on the organisation bringing their own personality and emphasis to the role as I did.”

Addressing what he would do next, Luxon said job number one was to stay focused and finish strongly at Air New Zealand so it was set up for success.

“Then I’m going to take the summertime to refresh and recharge, and then reflect on what I will do next,’’ he said.

“I am now 48 years old and my wife Amanda and I are at an interesting time in life. Our children will both have finished high school and so we will have a new degree of freedom, including career choices.

“Thus, I would like to think more about how I can best use my skills, abilities and experience to make a further contribution to the success of New Zealand whether that be through corporate life, politics or a not for profit.”

Carter said Luxon had made an outstanding contribution to the airline.

He said Air New Zealand had experienced a period of enhanced profitability, strong dividends to shareholders, record customer satisfaction scores, outstanding brand health and the best corporate reputation in New Zealand and Australia during Luxon’s seven-year tenure.

Dame Therese Walsh, who is already on the Air New Zealand board, will replace Carter when he steps down at the airline’s 2019 shareholder meeting in September after nine years on the board and six years as chairman.