TA's Geoff Dixon - "agitator"

Geoff Dixon - "agitator"

Qantas has ended a $44m marketing agreement with Tourism Australia (TA) citing a conflict of interest involving TA Chairman, Geoff Dixon, who it believes is trying to orchestrate a takeover bid for the carrier.

News Limited reports that Qantas boss Alan Joyce informed Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson late yesterday that the Qantas board had suspended all dealings with Tourism Australia because Mr Dixon was “agitating” for regime change. Qantas will now allocate the Tourism Australia marketing funds to the state tourism marketing bodies.

The move comes after numerous reports that Mr Dixon, the former CEO of Qantas, is trying to rally support for a takeover at the airline.

In the past, Mr Joyce and Mr Dixon were seen as close. Clearly those days are long gone.

Much harder to determine is whether or not Mr Dixon and his cohorts – including adman John Singleton, retailer Gerry Harvey and financier Mark Carnegie – are serious about Qantas or just stirring the pot.

At this stage, it doesn’t appear they have backers nor have they made a public announcement.

The Qantas share price has shown some signs of life but nothing to indicate the market is taking it seriously at this stage.

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