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Packer quits Qantas Board -

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Packer quits Qantas Board

Broadcast: 18/05/2007

Reporter: Helen Brown

Qantas has announced that the chairman of Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, James Packer, will
retire from its board at the same time as the chairman Margaret Jackson.


VIRGINIA TRIOLI: There's been more fall out from the failed takeover of Qantas with Board director
James Packer resigning today.

The media and gambling mogul won't leave until November, the same time as chairman Margaret

In a statement issued today, Ms Jackson said the past eight months had been particularly pressing
and she felt it was time to move on. Her imminent departure opens up one of the country's prime
Board positions.

Helen Brown reports.

HELEN BROWN: The calls had been strong for Margaret Jackson to leave the chairman's role at Qantas.
Last night it was announced she'd step down at the annual meeting in November.

Today, fellow board director James Packer followed in her steps, although the reasons why are

There's been little insight from the Qantas Board, apart from a statement issued earlier. In it, Ms
Jackson said she greatly values what Qantas has achieved over the past seven years, culminating in
the largest takeover offer for an airline in aviation history. And the Board says it will continue
with the company's strategic direction.

But, some think for that to happen, Margaret Jackson might have to move on sooner.

BRENT MITCHELL, SHAW STOCKBROKING: I think in the current situation it may not be desirable. She is
a lame duck chairman in that respect, that a lot of the decisions on the longer-term future of
Qantas may have to be postponed until the new chairman is put in place.

HELEN BROWN: Ms Jackson has a respectable track record in the corporate sector, but in the end was
seen to have identified too closely with the bid by private equity group Airline Partners Australia
(APA) and also put shareholders offside with some comments.

IAN CURRY, AUSTRALIAN SHAREHOLDERS' ASSOCIATION: She was too quick to embrace the APA offer, overly
enthusiastic. And she also insulted shareholders by suggesting they didn't have the mental capacity
to understand the issues and vote accordingly.

HELEN BROWN: The Prime Minister says it's not up to him to judge her decision.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER, AUSTRALIA: I'm not going to comment on the nuances or ins and outs of
the Qantas bid. But let me say that I think Margaret Jackson has been a person of great ability and
great integrity, and she will remain a very significant figure in the Australian business

HELEN BROWN: The search is now on for someone to fill one of the nation's blue chip corporate
positions. Favoured candidates include Commonwealth Bank chairman John Schubert, former Qantas
chief executive James Strong - who's on the Qantas board - and Westpac chief executive David

Ms Jackson was the first woman appointed to chair the board of an Australian company listed in the
top 50. And while plenty of names have been mentioned as her replacement, none so far have been

Businesswoman and co-founder of the Women's Electoral Lobby Wendy McCarthy says the corporate
sector fails to even consider the many competent women available for board positions.

WENDY MCCARTHY, BUSINESSWOMAN: I would say that recent corporate Australian history would suggest
it is unlikely a woman will follow her into the chair, but I would hope that there would be other
women appointed to the board.

HELEN BROWN: Margaret Jackson's departure means there are now two women in Australia occupying the
chair's position out of the top 200 companies listed on the Australian stock exchange.

The Equal Opportunity and Workplace Agency says that across publicly listed companies, women make
up 8.7 per cent of director positions. Meanwhile, the Qantas Board has backed its chief executive
Jeff Dickson, who says he'll stay until at least July 2009.

Helen Brown, Lateline .