Air New Zealand chief executive officer (CEO) Christopher Luxon has resigned and will step down from day to day leadership of the airline on 25 September.
He has been head of the national carrier of New Zealand for the last seven years and has not revealed any plans where he is moving to next.
Chairman Tony Carter said Luxon has made an “outstanding contribution” to the airline, which he explained had experienced a period of enhanced profitability, strong dividends to shareholders, record customer satisfaction scores, outstanding brand health and soaring corporate reputation in New Zealand and Australia during his seven year tenure.
He added: “The opportunity to lead New Zealand’s most iconic company will attract many great candidates both internationally and within New Zealand. The Board has commenced an international search and expects to be in a position to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer in the near future.
“Further, Christopher will be in the role until 25 September, and then he will move to advising and supporting the incoming Chairman and new CEO so we have a seamless transition and are set up well for further success.”
Luxon said he is “incredibly proud” of what Air New Zealand has achieved under his tenure. “Our customer centricity, commercial focus, and highly engaged culture have made Air New Zealand the most revered company in our part of the world as reflected in our corporate reputation rankings on both sides of the Tasman.”
Luxon said he will miss heading to work every day to lead the aviation equivalent of 12,500 All Blacks. “It has been an awesome journey and what we have achieved by working together with a common goal of supercharging New Zealand’s success economically, environmentally and socially has been nothing short of remarkable.
“I have absolutely loved the responsibility and experience of leading this company over the last seven years. It has been intellectually challenging, people centred and an absolute privilege to do this job. However, I do feel it is the right time for a new leader to take over and preserve and enhance the good things from our past, but also to put their own stamp on the organisation bringing their own personality and emphasis to the role as I did,” he said.
He added: “I know I am going to get a lot of questions about where to next for me, so I am keen to be quite upfront about that. Obviously, job number one is to stay focused and finish strongly at Air New Zealand so we are set up for more success going forward. Then I’m going to take the summertime to refresh and recharge, and then reflect on what I will do next.
“I am now 48 years old and my wife Amanda and I are at an interesting time in life. Our children will both have finished high school and so we will have a new degree of freedom, including career choices. Thus, I would like to think more about how I can best use my skills, abilities and experience to make a further contribution to the success of New Zealand whether that be through corporate life, politics or a not for profit.”