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Sir Angus Houston joins Virgin Australia board

written by WOFA | December 13, 2018

Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK AFC (Retd), at the National Memorial Service for MH17 at Parliament House in Canberra on July 17 2015. (Defence).
Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK AFC (Retd), at the National Memorial Service for MH17 at Parliament House in Canberra on July 17 2015. (Defence).

Virgin Australia has appointed former Chief of the Defence Force Sir Angus Houston to the board.

Sir Angus’ appointment, announced in a regulatory filing to the Australian Securities Exchange on Wednesday, came on the same day the airline said Mark Vaile had stepped down as a non-executive director.

The retired Air Chief Marshal was Chief of the Australian Defence Force from 2005 to 2011 and Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) from 2001 to 2005. He retired from the military after ending his tenure as Chief of the Defence Force.

Most recently, Sir Angus spent seven years as chairman of the country’s air traffic manager Airservices Australia, stepping down in June 2018.

A 2006 file image of Sir Angus Houston when he was Chief of the Defence Force. (Defence)
A 2006 file image of Sir Angus Houston when he was Chief of the Defence Force. (Defence)

His other prominent roles included being Australia’s special envoy in the aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy when the Boeing 777-200ER was shot down enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in 2014.

He also led the Joint Agency Coordination Centre for the search of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Virgin Australia chairman Elizabeth Bryan said Sir Angus’ experience as one of Australia’s most senior aviation and military leaders would further strengthen and diversify the board.


“Sir Angus’ unique insights into aviation and the ability to address complex issues in an independent capacity will be a great asset to the Virgin Australia group,” Bryan said.

His current roles include being University of the Sunshine Coast chancellor and chair of the Defence South Australia Advisory board.

Vaile spent 10 years as a Virgin Australia director, having been first appointed to the board in September 2008.

The former Australian Deputy Prime Minister was most recently re-elected for a fresh three-year term at the airline group’s 2017 annual general meeting. He served on the board’s audit and risk management committee, the nomination committee and the remuneration committee.

His other board positions included being chairman of Whitehaven Coal Ltd and a director of Servcorp Ltd and SmartTrans Holdings Ltd.

Bryan thanked Vaile for the “significant, positive impact” he made during his decade-long stint as a Virgin Australia independent non-executive director.

“The board has benefited from Mark’s firm independence, strategic judgement and ability to work with a range of stakeholders,” Bryan said.

“He has made an outstanding contribution, and the board and I wish him well for the future.”


  • Rod Pickin


    It is always an absolute pleasure to see people with well proven skills and experience appointed to boards of companies/industries of which those skills etc are/were obtained. Welcome aboard Sir Angus, – rather like David Murray at AMP, I don’t envy your tasks but I am encouraged and in time I am sure that some little “fireside chats” will occur that will give birth to some needed changes at VAH. Being part of this board will not be easy, an Australian publicly listed company almost fully foreign owned; the top 20 shareholders hold 95.6% of the shares, ( almost all foreign) and the 5 main shareholders hold 90.89%, (all foreign owners), all seeking returns on their investments which, haven’t been too flash to-date. The outstanding benefit for VAH is that you have a good product but, costs out of kilter and some thinking and action needed with mid range fleet ops, numbers of, utilization and scheduling. The winds of change may well have arrived. Best wishes.

  • dave kermode


    Agreat man -ie Sir Angus -universally liked and respected in the ADF

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