Air New Zealand hires chief people officer as it cuts jobs and pushes cargo

Air New Zealand has appointed Joe McCollum as its chief people officer, effective from April 14.

The announcement comes as the airline works to “rebuild” itself as a result of the negative impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the aviation sector.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the carrier is reducing its staff of 12,500 by a third as it faces steep revenue loss caused by low passenger demand and border restrictions in place in many countries around the world.

Despite this, the carrier is continuing to operate cargo flights. Rick Nelson, Air New Zealand’s general manager of cargo said the airline is grateful for support from the New Zealand government that will ensure key international airfreight links remain open to support the local economy.

Nelson explained: “This is undoubtedly an extremely difficult time for our airline with a significant reduction in capacity due to reduced travel demand, but these services will ensure key goods such as medical supplies and food continue to flow in and out of New Zealand. We’re pleased to be able to keep New Zealand connected to the world in this way by working with our key cargo partners.”

Air New Zealand has also hired employment relations practitioner Paul Diver to support McCollum with the workforce change process that is currently underway.

Greg Foran, chief executive of Air New Zealand said that McCollum, who succeeds Jodie King, will bring to the airline “an extensive depth of global change management and executive leadership experience forged in challenging environments”.

Foran explained: “McCollum 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”.

McCollum is a former group HR director at telecommunications company Spark and prior to that headed HR for global chemicals giant ICI.

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