Air New Zealand appoints new Chief People Officer as airline eyes major job cuts

Air New Zealand has appointed a new Chief People Officer after cut back in flights and proposed redundancies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Air New Zealand, Boeing, 777. Source:

Joe McCollum will take over the role from Jodie King next Tuesday. Ms King is leaving the airline to become Chief People Officer at Vodafone New Zealand. 

In announcing Mr McCollum's appointment, Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said he would bring an extensive depth of global change management to the airline, as well as executive leadership experience forged in challenging environments.

"Joe is no stranger to the type of large scale, rapid workplace change that Air New Zealand has ahead in the wake of Covid-19. He will be a key member of the team to rebuild our airline," Mr Foran said.

Mr McCollum is a former Group Human Resources Director at Spark and prior to that headed Human Resources for global chemicals giant ICI plc based out of London. He has also worked across the software, music and media industries.

The airline has also contracted one of New Zealand's most experienced employment relations practitioners, Paul Diver, to support Mr McCollum.

The news today comes after the national carrier started talking to staff about cutting up to 3,500 jobs, including making 387 pilots redundant.

Air New Zealand has had to slash its flight capacity by 95 per cent allowing services only for essential travel and to keep air freight moving. There used to be more than 400 flights daily around the country.

Air New Zealand's chief revenue officer Cam Wallace also shared "stark" statistics which showed around only two or three people per flight.

Late last month, Air New Zealand said it was applying for the Government's wage subsidy though. The news came after the Government earlier announced a rescue package of a loan of up to nearly $1 billion.