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Gay CEO of Qantas airline: ‘It’s important to be who you are’ at work

Gay CEO of Qantas airline: ‘It’s important to be who you are’ at work

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce

In an interview with BBC on workplace diversity, the chief executive of Australian airline Qantas, Alan Joyce, advised people to be open about who they are at work.

Joyce said he believes being open about being gay ‘allows him to be himself at work and demonstrates to others that it hasn’t hindered his career.’

He also shared his experience of being asked by a young indigenous woman whether she could ever become the leader of Qantas:

‘I said, “Well if a gay Irishman can become the CEO of Qantas then an indigenous lady can absolutely.”‘

Among the chief executives of the 500 biggest US companies, only Tim Cook of Apple is openly gay, reports BBC.

Similarly, in the UK’s 100 largest firms listed on the stock exchange, Burberry boss Christopher Bailey is the only well-known gay chief executive.

Joyce credited Qantas’ diverse senior leadership team for successfully tackling the challenges the airline faced arising from tough competition and soaring fuel costs with more varied ideas.

‘We’ve got three Brits, an American, an Irishman, a Kiwi. So all different type of backgrounds. We’ve got three women, three gay men, people that were mathematicians, people that were business consultants, people that were flight attendants,’ Joyce described.

‘I can say categorically that we wouldn’t have gotten through the transformation and the tough times of this business as well as we did without having that diversity in the top leadership team. At the end of the day, it makes you a better business.’

Watch the BBC interview here: