Sir John Key's departure from the Air New Zealand board next year will allow him to spend more time on his other corporate roles - including chairing ANZ in this country — and will herald further change at the airline.
He quits his role on the board at the airline end of next March, just as the new chief executive Greg Foran will start a month earlier.
Key 's been a director for just two and a half years and his decision to quit has not been seen as a surprise given the required commitment to the embattled bank and another two governance roles he's picked up this year.
• Singapore Airlines to fly its ritziest Airbus superjumbos to Auckland
• American Airlines' big New Zealand move - Auckland to Dallas, Christchurch to LA
• Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 makes history in Wellington
• Premium - United Airlines tools up with new Dreamliner to Auckland as American Airlines expansion looms
The airline's chair Dame Therese Walsh said Key had indicated earlier this year that 2020 would possibly be his last as a director ''due to increasing commitments on his professional time in New Zealand and overseas.''
This year he has had to deal with the spotlight on the ANZ which came under scrutiny for the sale of a St Heliers property to the wife of its former chief executive David Hisco and his departure over an expenses scandal involving wine storage and chauffeured cars.
Key is on the board of the ANZ in Australia at a time when big banks on both sides of the Tasman are attracting more heat from regulators.
His sitting on both ANZ boards has also been questioned.
In October, Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr said he was considering stopping New Zealand bank directors from being on the boards of both the New Zealand arm and their Australian parent company.
Early this year Key was appointed to the board of US cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks which last month reported a net loss that nearly doubled to US$59.6m on revenue that rose 18 per cent to $771.9m for the three months to September 30.
Revealed: Where Air New Zealand's next safety video is heading
Boeing versus Airbus: Qantas makes big aircraft call on Project Sunrise flights
Last month Key was hired by private tutoring company Crimson Consulting as an "advisory member" of its board.
Key's son Max worked at Crimson from 2015 until 2017, helping students get into top American universities through excellence in sports.
Sir John's tenure as an Air NZ director came as the airline faced Dreamliner engine problems and an increasingly challenging operating environment and has had to re-assess network growth plans.
He was paid a board fee of $100,000 a year and $10,000 for being on the people, remuneration and diversity committee. He also had a travel entitlement of $72,628.
A replacement is being sought.
The seven-member board is responsible for identifying and nominating candidates ''with appropriate skills, knowledge and experience.''
Walsh said Key has made a significant contribution to the airline.
"Sir John's outstanding commercial acumen, international perspectives and stakeholder network have been incredibly valuable to Air New Zealand and we are fortunate to have had him as a member of our board," she said.
Key said it was a difficult decision to step down from the airline.
"Air New Zealand is a world-class company that all Kiwis can be proud of. The fortunes of the airline and our nation are inextricably linked.''