In an internal email to staff, Air New Zealand chairman Dame Therese Walsh said Greg Foran would start as its CEO on February 3 with a 100-day review of the business "to inform his thinking on the future strategic direction of Air New Zealand".

By Ian Horswill


Posted on December 16, 2019

Greg Foran will take over as Air New Zealand CEO in early February, and his first 100 days will be spent reviewing the business.

Foran is planning to spend time with family and friends in Australia and New Zealand when he finishes as president and CEO of retail giant Walmart’s US operations.

In an internal email to staff, obtqined by NZ Stuff, Air New Zealand chairman Dame Therese Walsh said Foran would start on February 3 with a 100-day review of the business “to inform his thinking on the future strategic direction of Air New Zealand”.

Foran, will return to his native New Zealand to take the helm of Air New Zealand after 25 years living in the US, Air New Zealand announced in a statement in October. He joined Walmart in its international division and served in a number of roles, including as president and CEO of Walmart China, before taking on the role of CEO and president of Walmart USA in 2014.

The airline‘s executive had already engaged with Foran providing insights across their portfolios as well as on the opportunities and challenges facing the airline, Dame Theresa said.

​Foran was keen to seek the views initially of 1,200 Air New Zealand leadership staff on steps that could be taken to lift the airline’s performance, she said.

Dame Therese added Foran would then engage with the wider business to allow all staff an opportunity to provide feedback.

“It’s the Board’s expectation that we align on the strategic direction of the business with Greg mid-year, so that we go into the August annual result period able to articulate the aspirations for Air New Zealand in this next exciting phase.”

Air New Zealand has not disclosed what Foran will be paid, but it is expected he will take a massive pay cut from his current salary of US$13m.

Christopher Luxon stepped down as Air New Zealand CEO on 25 September after eight years with the airline and seven years as its CEO.

Chief financial officer Jeff McDowall has been acting CEO until Foran assumes responsibility.

Walsh said McDowall had done an outstanding job in the transition phase.

“The business will be well set up for success heading into 2020 and our 80th anniversary year.”

Air New Zealand’s annual before tax earnings of NZ$374 million was revealed in September. The result was well below the previous year’s $540 million profit.