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Ardent Leisure appoints new CEO

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For some reason - I can't reply to the 'news article' posted about Ardent's new CEO... so I thought i'd put my thoughts here, given a new CEO at the helm might see changes for Dreamworld flowing through too...

Original post follows:

Christ! you gotta put a disclaimer on the thread before opening it up to a face like that!

After several CEO changes at the DW level - this is the first in over a decade for Ardent. It will be interesting to see whether Deborah takes this in a new direction. Given her history with AWW and Cleo - are these possibilities?

  • Tips on 'how to please your significant other' in the queueline for Cyclone?
  • Papparazzi climbing safety fences to obtain your 'on-ride photo' from a different POV?
  • Notice boards throughout the park publicising rumours about which Dreamworld ride was caught exiting annual refurb with the latest facelift?
  • Special Edition Cookbooks available in gift shops - 'how to reproduce the food served in Dreamworld outlets' ?

The possibilities are endless...

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For some reason - I can't reply to the 'news article' posted about Ardent's new CEO... so I thought i'd put my thoughts here, given a new CEO at the helm might see changes for Dreamworld flowing through too...

Original post follows:

Christ! you gotta put a disclaimer on the thread before opening it up to a face like that!

After several CEO changes at the DW level - this is the first in over a decade for Ardent. It will be interesting to see whether Deborah takes this in a new direction. Given her history with AWW and Cleo - are these possibilities?

  • Special Edition Cookbooks available in gift shops - 'how to reproduce the food served in Dreamworld outlets' ?
  • Notice boards throughout the park publicising rumours about which Dreamworld ride was caught exiting annual refurb with the latest facelift?

The possibilities are endless...

I feel as though we shouldn't be mean to her just yet. We'll have to wait and see what happens with the park before we make too many comments. Who knows, she might even join the forums if we're nice enough.

In regards to the headlines, you can't go past the classic "Which Dreamworld ride was caught cheating in the Big Brother house?" or "Our exclusive photos of Kenny Koala's breakdown"

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It would certainly be interesting to get other CEOs on here. Their points of view are always valuable (thanks Mark!). It does make me wonder how many read the threads. It certainly seems like Dreamworld is responding to gripes and suggestions made here and on other social media.

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It seems the share market isn't a massive fan of the appointment, with shares on Ardent down around 20% after the announcement.

Personally I find it difficult to be massively inspired by the phrase "(I) will be able to bring new ideas in customer insight, marketing, branding and digital knowledge to the company and the board". Hopefully there is more to her than this, but It seems to continue a general trend of people with little to no passion for the amusement industry being in charge, and I think that's a sad thing.

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Ardent Leisure has such a bizarre portfolio of assets that it's hard to ever imagine the company embracing a true theme park visionary at the helm. I have no qualms with savvy business operators at the corporate level overseeing the diverse leisure/hospitality/lifestyle businesses that they manage, and this appointment may well fit that criteria. However if I were a shareholder I too would be unsure about the appointment as Deborah Thomas has a resume that seems strong in marketing/advertising but very light on operational experience.

The problem is that at the Dreamworld level we see a revolving door of CEOs who have no skin in the theme park game. It'd be great to see them go global in the future to find someone who understands the unique theme park industry and is willing to commit to a longer game. The recent run of 2-3 year chief executives doesn't exactly scream long-term plan...

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