Air Transport World

Fye rewrites the tune at ANZ.(MANAGEMENT)(Air New Zealand)

Next time you're on an Air New Zealand flight and the inflight service is a bit slow, it may be because the carrier's executives are engaged with passengers about everything from football to politics-while serving them. The born-again airline, winner of ATW's 2005 Phoenix Award, is rewriting the management relations book, with executives rolling up sleeves and working side-by-side with staff on a regular basis

Every month, CEO Rob Fyfe and the rest of ANZ's top executives don flight attendant uniforms and serve passengers coffee or perhaps a fine New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Alternatively, they may spend a day manning the check-in counters or loading baggage. And while they are doing that, they are reinforcing Charles Darwin's theory that "it is not the strongest of the species that survive nor the most intelligent but the ones most responsive to change," for they are completely changing the way management deals with airline staff here.

ANZ has made an extraordinary journey since the bleak days of 2001 when it nearly failed, and it has been built on compassion for and interaction with staff, initially under former CEO Ralph Norris (ATW, 10/04, p. 26) and since October 2005 under Fyfe. Norris reversed a long path of noninvestment and re-inspired employees by de-emphasizing the focus on shareholder returns that had characterized the era during which Brierley Investments controlled ANZ. …

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