A large slice of the AUD21.4 million Australian dollars (USD13.72 million) former Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stands to collect after his departure is at risk as rolling scandals and shareholder discontent engulf the carrier.

Joyce exited the Qantas Group HQ earlier this month, two months ahead of schedule, as the media zeroed in on a series of unsavoury decisions taken by management that materially affected thousands of customers and frontline employees. That included attempting to cancel around AUD500 million (USD320.5 million) in flight credits at the end of this year and keeping the money, illegally sacking around 1,700 ground handlers, and continuing to sell tickets on approximately 8,000 flights last year after having cancelled those flights.

The bulk of Joyce's walkaway remuneration comes from cashing in long-term share-based incentives from his 15 years as CEO. His base pay for FY23 was AUD2.145 million (USD1.37 million). In June, after announcing his resignation, Joyce sold AUD17 million (USD10.9 million) worth of shares to fund the acquisition of an apartment in the Sydney central business district. Since that well-timed sale, ahead of many of the current reputational challenges blowing up, the Qantas share price has declined by over 20%.

Institutional investors in the Qantas Group, which includes Qantas, QantasLink, Qantas Freight, and Jetstar Airways in its stable, as well as wet-lease operators such as National Jet Systems and Express Freighters Australia, have become increasingly unsettled at the damage the Qantas brand (and its share price) sustained during the latter part of Joyce's tenure.

However, approximately AUD8.4 million (USD5.38 million) in share-based bonuses Joyce has collected this year but has yet to be allowed to sell can potentially be cancelled, according to notes in the Qantas Group 2023 Annual Report released this week. A further AUD6 million (USD3.85 million) in unvested stock bonuses may also be recalled. Around two-thirds of Joyce's possible AUD21 million-plus payday may evaporate. The board has already temporarily halted releasing the bonus shares pending the outcome of proceedings started by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission concerning the airline selling tickets on already cancelled flights.

"In the case of Alan Joyce's remuneration for FY23, in addition to AUD2.2 million in short-term bonuses that have been withheld, a further AUD8.3 million of a total adjusted AUD21.4 million is subject to clawback should the board determine that necessary," said Qantas Group chairman Richard Goyder this week. "When combined with additional long-term incentives already granted, a total of AUD14.4 million is subject to malus and clawback if considered necessary."

Meanwhile, while much of the attention has focused on Joyce's end-of-career flameout and pay packet, the future of the board, including Perth-based Goyder, is looking increasingly untenable. Serious questions have been raised concerning their lack of executive management oversight and supervision. Despite this, Goyder was paid AUD604,000 (USD387,121) in FY23, plus he received a further AUD117,000 (USD74,990) in non-cash benefits. Goyder and the eight other non-executive directors do not receive any performance-related remuneration but do enjoy handsome international and domestic travel benefits during and after their tenure.