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Qantas chairman refuses to quit amid investor pressure - ABC News

FILE PHOTO: Qantas aircraft are seen on the tarmac at Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne

(Reuters) - Australia's Qantas Airways' chairman has refused to step down even as investors continued to demand his resignation amid a slew of scandals that have affected the carrier, ABC News reported on Thursday, citing an interview to a radio program.

The company is facing a regulatory lawsuit accusing it of breaching consumer law by selling fares for 8,000 flights that were cancelled in mid-2022, leading to the abrupt resignation of CEO Alan Joyce.

In his first interview since these allegations by the country's competition regulator in late August, Chairman Richard Goyder said he has confidence in the Qantas board and that major investors wanted him to continue in his position, the news website said.

"I can't say a lot about this at the moment because it's a legal case. But any suggestion that we took fees for no service is just wrong," Goyder said. He did not comment further on the allegations.

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The ABC report did not mention the names of investors and consumers who have called for Goyder's resignation.

Goyder was appointed to the board in November 2017 and named chairman in October 2018.

Separately, Australia's top court earlier this week ruled that the airline broke the law by laying off 1,700 ground staff, replacing them with contractors early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goyder said Qantas has accepted the ruling and new CEO Vanessa Hudson will work towards settling the case, according to ABC News.

"There was no idea when borders may open and courts actually held that we had sound commercial reasons for making the decision (about the layoffs)," he added.

(This story has been refiled to fix a typo in the company's name in paragraph 8)

(Reporting by Roushni Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema)