The rise, fall and rise of Jayne Hrdlicka

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The rise, fall and rise of Jayne Hrdlicka


Through the Virgin bidding course of, she stopped attending union conferences with Bain on the request of the Transport Employees Union as a result of it didn’t suppose her presence was constructive. The Australian Licensed Plane Engineers Affiliation famous the explanation it had backed a suggestion by rival bidder Cyrus Capital Companions was that Bain had too many “Qantas strategies”.

There was a soured relationship for practically a decade between Qantas (and by proxy Ms Hrdlicka) and the unions.

Previous to her 18-month stint as CEO of a2 Milk, Ms Hrdlicka was chief govt of Qantas offshoot service Jetstar, then turned head of the airline’s loyalty program.

She was seen as a rising star. Underneath her tenure, the finances service turned one of many world’s main airways and delivered a sequence of report earnings.

I am positive me being straight-talking now comes from rising up in an surroundings the place that was simply what you probably did.

— Jayne Hrdlicka

Ms Hrdlicka counts Qantas boss Alan Joyce as a mentor, having met him when he was working as an govt on the now-defunct Ansett. She mentioned in 2015: “I would not have come to Qantas aside from him and the very succesful leaders he’s.”

Mr Joyce had used Bain & Co companies, the place Ms Hrdlicka was a marketing consultant, within the late Nineties.

She all the time prided herself on her potential to resolve issues and get in the precise experience to sort things. She has a stellar status as a forceful chief govt who will get issues achieved.

Whereas at a2 Milk, chairman David Hearn mentioned, Ms Hrdlicka “ruffled a number of feathers” alongside the way in which. However operationally, a2 Milk continued to realize below her management and the inventory value rose 40 per cent throughout her tenure, regardless of tensions with the board.

Jayne Hrdlicka with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce in 2014, when she was operating Jetstar.  Louise Kennerley

In an interview with The Australian Monetary Evaluate in 2019, Ms Hrdlicka attributed her behavior of telling it like it’s to her upbringing in Kansas within the American midwest.

“It was fairly straight. And I am positive me being straight-talking now comes from rising up in an surroundings the place that was simply what you probably did,” she mentioned.

Ms Hrdlicka has come a good distance since her first job as a checkout chick at retailer Dillons. She drove a purple Honda Accord. Tennis nice Billie Jean King was her idol. It was a contented life in small-town America. However the extremely motivated younger lady needed extra, so she left to attend Colorado Faculty. She later graduated from enterprise faculty at Dartmouth Faculty in New Hampshire.

She had first labored with Bain & Co within the early Nineties within the US and moved to Australia in 1994 to show round an organization known as Dynamic Advertising and marketing, in opposition to the recommendation of her mother and father. Australia was by no means in her long-term plans however she met her husband right here, and that modified the whole lot.

Earlier dispute

Whereas Ms Hrdlicka gained expertise working within the reduce and thrust of company life, she additionally frolicked within the boardroom of grocery store big Woolworths, the place she was a director from 2010 to 2016. She can also be chairman of Tennis Australia and a director at Hawaiian Airways.

Like all many CEOs, Ms Hrdlicka will not be with out her detractors. The TWU has a protracted historical past of clashing together with her – largely referring to a tenuous relationship with Qantas after a shutout and pay freeze throughout 2011. Ms Hrdlicka was head of technique when Mr Joyce locked out the workforce, splintering the connection with workers.

Tensions boiled over when Qantas introduced it will reduce 1000 staff and broaden into Asia – a transfer designed to return the airline to worldwide profitability.

As information emerged on Thursday of Ms Hrdlicka’s appointment, unions suspended talks with Bain over a brand new enterprise settlement. As a part of its revamp plans, Bain will slash 3000 jobs and simplify to an all-Boeing 737 mainline fleet.

There’s speak that Virgin’s remaining flight attendants and pilots could incur a 40 per cent pay reduce and reductions to work situations, leading to for much longer hours and time away from their households.

As Bain inches in direction of taking management of Virgin in early November, it is clear Ms Hrdlicka, who declined to remark, has one other steep hill to climb. Not solely will she need to steer the airline to new heights, it’s obvious she might want to provide an olive department to her detractors to get there.



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