Virgin Australia restructures, creates chief strategy and technology officer role

Virgin Australia restructures, creates chief strategy and technology officer role

750 jobs to go after airline reports $315 million loss for FY19

Credit: 24848564 © Gordon Tipene

Virgin Australia has unveiled details of a new executive leadership team, including the creation of a new chief strategy and technology officer role, as part of a significant restructure of its operations.

The airline is currently recruiting for the new role. Virgin Australia’s chief information officer, Cameron Stone, will report to the CSTO, a spokesperson told Computerworld. Currently the CIO reports to the airline’s chief financial officer.

Keith Neate, whose previous roles include CFO at Virgin Blue and, more recently, at Aurizon, will join as CFO from 2 September. The current CFO, Geoff Smith, will stay on to aid the transition before leaving at the end of the year.

The airline is planning to make around 750 corporate and head office roles redundant after reporting a loss for FY19. 

A new structure will see the integration of the “corporate, operational and commercial functions” of Virgin Australia Airlines, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines and Tigerair Australia. The group’s loyalty program, Velocity Frequent Flyer, is not part of the changes due to its ownership structure.

“I’ve been reviewing the structure of the organisation since I joined the group in March with a view to simplify the current structure which has grown overly complex over time,” said Virgin Australia Group CEO and managing director, Paul Scurrah, in a statement.

“Transitioning to the new group structure will streamline common functions and create greater opportunities, but will also identify efficiencies and duplication, which will form part of the organisational rightsizing program.

“Having group accountability at the executive level will deliver significant financial, operational and technological benefits, and it’s important we have an executive leadership team that is working together to deliver better financial outcomes for the group.”

The job cuts are expected to deliver savings of $75 million a year, with the majority of those affected expected to have left the group by the end of FY20.

“Decisions which have a direct impact on people’s livelihoods are never made lightly, and I regret the need to reduce the size of our workforce so quickly,” Scurrah said.

“However, today’s financial results tell us loud and clear that we need to reduce costs. Once the program is complete, the Virgin Australia Group will still be one of the largest employers in Brisbane, and proudly employ people across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.”

The airline today reported a group statutory loss after tax of $315.4 million. Revenue was up 7.6 per cent to $5.8 billion.

Scurrah today announced the appointment of Stuart Aggs as chief operations officer, John MacLeod as chief commercial officer, and current group executive, brand marketing and public affairs, Danielle Keighery, to the newly created role of chief experience officer.

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