Air New Zealand CMO one of three executive casualties due to COVID-19

Airline confirms chief marketing and customer officer, Mike Tod, will leave on 31 May 2020

Air New Zealand has made its chief marketing officer redundant as part of a sweeping set of changes to it executive ranks.

The airline confirmed CMO and customer chief, Mike Tod, who has been with the group for nearly seven-and-a-half years, is one of three executive-level leaders being culled as it strives to cope with the devastating fallout of the COVID-19 crisis on aviation and tourism. Tod finishes on 31 May but will, however, provide some advisory support to the CEO during the current business transformation phase.

In a statement, Air New Zealand chief, Greg Foran, said the airline was anticipating it would take two years to get back to 70 per cent of its former size. On the basis, it was necessary to reduce executive ranks from nine to six.

Other exits include chief strategy networks and alliances officer, Nick Judd, at end of May and chief air operations and people safety officer, John Whittaker, at the end of July. All work will be absorbed by remaining executives.

“As we have done in all parts of the business, we are creating a structure that is appropriate for an airline which we expect will take two years to get back to 70 per cent of its former size,” Foran said.

“Nick, John and Mike have made an outstanding contribution to the airline, with a combined 68 years of service to Air New Zealand. They have played pivotal roles in growing Air New Zealand’s international network, the delivery of award-winning products and services, putting sustainability at the heart of our business and deepening relationships with key stakeholders like unions and alliance partners.

“They will leave at a time when our customer satisfaction scores are at all-time highs, we are seen to lead the way with culture and safety in aviation, our brand health is the best it has been and our corporate reputation is number one in Australia for the third year running and number one in New Zealand for the sixth consecutive year.”

Foran said the three executives will be hugely missed. “Mike, John and Nick… have interacted with thousands of our Air New Zealand whanau, near and wide over many years,” he added.

Foran will now begin a review of senior leadership ranks, indicating further cuts are to come.

The news came as Air New Zealand kicked off a new ‘Carepoints’ scheme allowing customer loyalty program members to gift their Airport dollars to three key charities: KidsCan, Women’s Refuge and New Zealand Red Cross. Up to 150,000 Airports dollars will be available to donate during the initiative, which runs until 19 June 2020.

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