Virgin poaches Qantas executive to lead customer and digital

Newly created chief customer and digital officer role aimed at helping the airline transform under new owner, Bain Capital

Virgin Australia has brought on a chief customer and digital officer in a step its CEO says will help the airline’s transformation as it steps up plans for 2021.  

Paul Jones takes up the newly created role at Virgin from Qantas Domestic, where he spent more than nine years in senior roles including chief operations officer, CIO and executive manager of customer and digital strategy. Prior to this, he was a CIO and VP of integration and transformation at Mars based in the US.  

Virgin Australia newly installed CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka, said Jones’ deep aviation experience will be an asset to the airline throughout a critical period of transformation under its new majority owners, US-based private equity firm, Bain Capital.  

“I have known Paul for a long time having worked closely with him during my time at Qantas and I am thrilled we’ve been able to attract him to Virgin Australia,” she said. “Investing in technology and having a laser sharp focus on the customer are two critical pieces of our transformation as we move towards being a mid-market carrier that is Australia’s most loved airline.  

“Paul will bring a wealth of knowledge to the executive leadership team at Virgin Australia and we can’t wait to welcome him to the family in 2021.”  

Bain secured majority ownership of Virgin Australia in September in a $3.5 billion deal, nearly six months after the airline went into administration on 21 April 2020 with debts of $6.8 billion, and just weeks after flights were grounded as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.  

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