Qantas lines up Dixon successors
Two senior Qantas executives have assumed new duties in a move widely seen as grooming a successor for chief executive Geoff Dixon, whose term expires in 2007.
Peter Gregg, who is already a Qantas director and chief financial officer, takes on the added task of fleet and long-term network development. Two other senior officers, the executive general manager of business services and chief information officer will also report directly to Gregg instead of Dixon.
Executive general manager John Borghetti is taking over network management, including scheduling. He already chairs a high-level group known within Qantas as "the flying committee", which co-ordinates all route and capacity decisions for Australian Airlines, JetStar, Qantas and QantasLink .
Gregg and Borghetti's new tasks were formerly handled by Paul Edwards, general manager for alliances. He moves to the new role of overseeing Qantas investments in other airlines.
Historically, Qantas has groomed two executives as potential leaders and ultimately picked one. These moves are seen as a start to that process, with Gregg and Borghetti the likely candidates.
Their grooming parallels what happened before Dixon became Qantas head in March 2001. Dixon had started in publicity and corporate affairs in 1994 and moved up through the ranks to the post of executive general manager commercial, overseeing the airline's day-to-day operations – a similar position to that now held by John Borghetti.
At the same time as Dixon's advance, Gary Toomey rose within Qantas to become its chief financial officer, the same post that Peter Gregg now holds. About a year before James Strong stepped down, Dixon and Toomey were both promoted to the posts of deputy chief executive. Toomey then left to head Air New Zealand, and Dixon took over at Qantas.
DAVID KNIBB SEATTLE