The following has just been published by Bloomberg. Both men face huge challenges so I wish them both well.
Qantas's Dixon Named CEO; Toomey Named Air N.Z. CEO (Update1)
By Miranda Maxwell and Andrew Harrison
Sydney, Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Qantas Airways Ltd., Australia's biggest airline, said Geoff Dixon will take over from James Strong as chief executive officer next year.
At the same time, Qantas deputy chief executive Gary Toomey, 45, announced his resignation to become chief executive at Air New Zealand Ltd., a position left vacant when Jim McCrea quit as CEO in July.
``It's a negative sign (for Qantas) when you lose a member of the senior executive,'' said Pano Raftopoulos, who manages A$600 million ($333 million) in Australian equities at Challenger Professional Investment Management Ltd, commenting on Toomey's resignation.
Qantas also faces increased competition at home from low-cost carriers, an economy that's expected to slow and more costly fuel. Impulse Airlines and Richard Branson's Virgin Blue are selling low- cost tickets for no-frills flights. Both Qantas and its biggest rival, Ansett Holdings Ltd., are matching the fares. Ansett is owned by Air N.Z., which itself is a quarter-owned by Singapore Airlines Ltd., Asia's most profitable carrier.
Air N.Z. is keen to expand international routes and a bigger presence in the Australian market will be key to its plans. Ranked in the world's top 20 by sales, Air N.Z. expects its recent merger with Ansett will add NZ$350 million ($150 million) to earnings before interest and tax within three years.
Qantas made Dixon deputy chief executive in November 1998, stepping up from the role of executive general manager commercial, which he assumed in February 1994. Before that he served as director of marketing and industry sales at Ansett Australia Holdings Ltd. from 1991 to 1994.
Strong to Retire
Dixon joined the board of Qantas last April as one of British Airlines Plc's representatives. British Airways owns 25 percent of Qantas, which entitles it to three of the 12 seats on the board. He was responsible for cabin crew management, regional airlines and fleet planning.
He served as general manager of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Australian Airlines between 1987 and 1990. Dixon has also held senior positions in a variety of industries in addition to senior postings in the Australian government overseas service in New York, San Francisco and The Hague.
Sydney-based Qantas, which is 25 percent owned by British Airways Plc, Europe's biggest carrier, said Peter Gregg will move up from deputy chief financial officer to chief financial officer and has also been made an executive director.
Strong, who will have served eight years when he departs Qantas by December next year, has known Dixon 30 years. The pair worked together in mining and aviation across Australia. Dixon, 60, has worked in Qantas's commercial division for six years.
Strong, 56, said in March he planned to resign in the second half of next year.
Toomey was named in 1997 among the top 25 chief financial officers in the world by international magazine, Global Finance.
Qantas stock rose 10 cents, or 2.8 percent, to A$3.68.
Air N.Z.'s Class A shares fell 1 cent to NZ$1.92.
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