Airline CEO attacked with cream pie
HONG KONG — Airline bosses aren’t having an easy time at the moment.
Alan Joyce, the CEO of Australian carrier Qantas, found himself in the firing line on Tuesday, getting a cream pie rubbed in his face at a business event.
Joyce had just started delivering a speech on stage at the Hyatt Regency hotel in the city of Perth when a man wearing a suit walked up behind him and delivered the messy blow.
The man was quickly seized by security guards, according to local media. Police told CNN a person was in custody but declined to provide further details.
It wasn’t immediately clear what the man’s motives were or whether he’ll be charged.
Joyce recovered and made his speech after getting cleaned up. He later spoke to reporters about the incident, which he described as “a new experience.” But he was unable to say what flavor the pie was.
“I didn’t have a chance to test it, it was mostly on my glasses,” he said. “I think my issue is I need a good dry cleaner before I leave Perth.”
Joyce was speaking at The West Australian newspaper’s “Leadership Matters” breakfast, a series of morning briefings in which high-profile business figures discuss leadership issues. Guests in the past have included Sir Richard Branson and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, neither of whom, luckily for them, ended up with pie on their faces.
The newspaper apologized for what it called a “regrettable incident” and praised Joyce for “his presence of mind and the professional manner in which he managed the situation.”
The pie attack follows a string of public relations disasters in the U.S. airline industry in recent weeks.
In the highest profile incident, United Airlines reached a settlement last month with a passenger who was violently dragged off one of its flights. But its rival Delta recently postponed a media event days before it was set to kick off because of “viral” customer service issues and a investigation by lawmakers into how airline customers are treated
Joyce’s pie-wielding attacker also joins a long list of people who have made their mark in public with the dessert.