Qantas poaches Optus’ corporate affairs boss before she even started at the telecom

Qantas has poached Danielle Keighery from Optus two weeks before she was due to start in her role as the embattled telecommunications company’s head of corporate affairs.

Keighery is experienced in transforming company culture and will join the airline in March after a two-year stint at Crown Resorts and 17 years at rival airline Virgin Australia. She will replace Andrew McGinnes, who resigned last week after 13 years at the company.

Former Virgin and Crown Resorts corporate affairs executive Danielle Keighery has quit her role at Optus to join Qantas.
Former Virgin and Crown Resorts corporate affairs executive Danielle Keighery has quit her role at Optus to join Qantas. Credit:

Qantas has been savaged over the past two years by staff, customers and, at times, investors who have felt let down by the airline’s business practices since the end of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Newly minted chief executive Vanessa Hudson said Keighery’s experience building corporate reputation and transforming the culture of businesses was one of the reasons behind her appointment.

“Danielle has a wealth of experience leading corporate affairs functions for major organisations in both Australia and overseas,” she said in a statement. “Danielle also has a deep understanding of aviation, having held a number of executive roles at Virgin Australia during more than a decade with the airline. I know she’ll make a valuable contribution to the Qantas Group as part of our leadership team.”

Keighery was supposed to commence her role at Optus in two weeks. She was appointed in September after Optus was criticised for its poor handling of its 2022 cyberattack, but that was before its recent outage which affected 10 million customers and left more than 2000 callers unable to get through to emergency services.

Optus’ chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin resigned days later and is yet to be replaced. Keighery was supposed to report directly to Bayer Rosmarin. The Singaporean-owned business is currently helmed by interim chief Michael Venter.

Hudson took over from Alan Joyce at the helm of Qantas in September. Since then, its loyalty boss Olivia Wirth has quit, and QantasLink chief John Gissing and head of domestic Andrew David have retired.

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Source: Thanks smh.com