And Mariner, As for James Hogan at Virgin Australia... There's always Qantas up for grabs when Alan Joyce moves on... but then again, there are at least two other well-respected non-Aussie ex airline leaders in this part of the world who may be ready to step back into battle. Might be quite a while before QF has an Aussie accent again rallying the troops from the very top! Just my humble opinion of course. Have no doubt however that succession planning is not as important in the local airline industry as it is in politics, lol.
If I'm alarmed at the idea of James Hogan becoming CEO at Virgin Australia, my blood freezes at the idea of him as CEO at Qantas - LOL.
I prefer the idea of promoting from within and I think one of the most interesting CEO choices for a long time was the decision by the BOD to go with AJ rather than JB - Borghetti, he of the silver tongue. Since you bring it all down to accents rather than actual nationality, both are Australian although neither was born here, but JB has the "smoother" persona - AJ can still come on like a Dublin street boy despite his excellent academic achievements.
The problem with external appointments is that you either have to steal from another airline or accept whomever may be available at the time and I'd prefer to think that AJ and the BOD are looking at possible - eventual - replacements for the top job within the airline, is training them up and, with any luck, an heir apparent will be revealed over the course of time - as happened with Luxon at Air NZ.
I'm not sure why you seem so anxious for AJ to go, but IF he did, I'm in the Anybody But Hogan camp. It isn't all that often that "star" CEO's get the chop so I assume the Etihad BOD became alarmed about him and his spendthrift ways. I get the feeling that power went to his head because while investing in one unprofitable airline may be acceptable for strategic reasons, to invest in several chronically loss-making airlines (Air Berlin? Alitalia?) seems simply perverse and I worry that he would squander Qantas' hard-earned resources.
But who knows? I can't predict the future, so I don't try.