Former Civil Aviation Authority chairman Nigel Gould says the request to resign by Transport Minister Phil Twyford was "certainly a surprise".
Mr Gould said there was no discussion as to why he was asked to resign and he doesn’t think there are workplace culture issues at the aviation watchdog.
Yesterday Mr Twyford said in a statement he told Mr Gould the CAA was going through “some big changes” and “it would be best to have fresh leadership".
Mr Gould said over time there has been a steady progression of changes put in place to improve employee behaviour, diversity, support and sexual harassment systems.
Employees feel they can raise issues and have them addressed at the authority, he said.
He said the issue under discussion has been driven by reports from current and former employees alleging incidents that were covered up by management to the media.
Mr Gould said what hasn’t been reported is that the CAA offered to meet with these people to address their reported complaints.
He said deputy chairman Don Huse will act as chairman until the Transport Minister and Ministry of Transport appoint a new one.
Mr Gould said he’ll be kept busy with multiple roles including chairing the Tertiary Education Commission.