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cheski

Ardent Leisure - Deborah Thomas steps down as CEO

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The below extract taken from 'The Australian' newspaper: 

26/04/17 9:52am: Ardent Leisure has announced the appointment of a new chief executive after high-profile leader Deborah Thomas stepped down to undertake a new role as chief operating officer and chief customer officer.

Ms Thomas’ surprise move comes two years after she claimed the CEO role and will see former Nine Entertainment finance chief Simon Kelly assume the top job at Ardent from July 1.

Full article can be read from the following link: 

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/ardent-leisure-ceo-deborah-thomas-to-be-replaced-by-simon-kelly/news-story/04c8190e8c8dcf0896745cb543afedde

A part of me is surprised by this announcement, though then another part of me is not. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the installment of a new CEO will shape Dreamworld in the future. 

Edited by cheski
Updated article and comments.

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2 hours ago, cheski said:

A part of me is surprised by this announcement, though then another part of me is not. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the installment of a new CEO will shape Dreamworld in the future. 

I'm just speculating here, but I think they're going to put Dreamworld up for sale.

Deborah was the public face of the Dreamworld tragedy and they've replaced her with a new salesman so it doesn't look like a fire sale.  It is what I would do if I wanted to unload Dreamworld from the portfolio and have a fresh new CEO focus on the Main Event brand in the US... cut of the rotting limb to save the body.

Again, pure speculation.

 

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It's been explained before.

  1. open an internet browser
  2. click in the address bar
  3. type "www.google.com.au"
  4. reading the article title words in the media link - type those into the search box. In this case "ardent-leisure-ceo-deborah-thomas-to-be-replaced-by-simon-kelly" (without the hyphens)
  5. Click 'search'
  6. Scroll through the results until you find the media outlet originally posted (in this case the Autralian), or - you know - feel free to read the same article from many other news outlets that don't have a paywall.
  7. Now you know how to do it, the first one has been done for you: http://bfy.tw/BR7T

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1 hour ago, Theme Park Girl said:

Thanks @AlexB 👍

 

Although I would have appreciated the slightly less sarcastic response. This is the first time I've had this issue happen. 

Haha these guys don't joke around TPG! :lol:

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@Fultre lol yeah, I know... have been a member on here long enough to have learnt that the hard way, and I have my thick skin to thank for the fact I'm still here today. It's a love/hate relationship at times 😑

Anyway, back on topic, I don't see it as a bad thing that the Dreamworld CEO has changed, especially given that Deborah's handling of the Dreamworld incident last year tainted Ardent's reputation in more ways than one with the general public. 

I think a fresh image and attitude overall for the chief of operations will help with the recovery process of the park and company in general 👍

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Quote

Ardent Leisure has announced the appointment of a new chief executive after high-profile leader Deborah Thomas stepped down to undertake a new role as chief operating officer and chief customer officer.

Ms Thomas’ surprise move comes two years after she claimed the CEO role and will see former Nine Entertainment finance chief Simon Kelly assume the top job at Ardent from July 1.

The executive shake-up comes six months after a ride malfunction at Ardent’s Dreamworld theme park led to the tragic deaths of four customers.

In a statement to the market, the company (AAD) said Ms Thomas had “initiated” the change following a review of operations, with her new position to focus primarily on revitalising the struggling theme parks unit.

The outgoing chief executive will retain a seat on the board.

“During Deborah’s leadership our company has experienced an unprecedented level of reorientation and change and has positioned itself strongly for solid future growth,” chairman George Venardos said.

Her replacement as CEO — Mr Kelly — most recently held an interim role as project director at Virgin Australia, although his last permanent position was as CFO of Nine from 2012 to 2016.

His departure from Nine in January 2016 led to a healthy payout of $2.2 million, which helped make him the highest-paid local media executive in fiscal 2016.

Before assuming the key position at the media group he had held leadership positions at Deals Direct, Aristocrat Leisure and Goodman Fielder.

“We are pleased to announce this significant boost to our management team,” Mr Venardos said.

“Simon, who will transition to the role over the next few months with the support of Deborah, brings to the group a wealth of experience in the management of multinational operations, financial control and the entertainment sector.”

The final piece of the executive team revamp sees current chief financial officer Richard Johnson resign, although Ardent said the move was independent of the other changes.

Mr Johnson stood down due to a desire to return to the UK to be with his family.

He had been Ardent’s finance chief for more than 12 years.

“We are sorry to lose Richard but we completely understand and support his desire to return with his family to his native UK,” Mr Venardos said.

He will remain with the company until July 15, with a search underway for his replacement.

?format=html&spp_api_key=XuE5eOv3o2Wa4WcljO6E3aQVo8rkmgUVthUN6TtOg-Y&t_product=the-australian

 

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55 minutes ago, Theme Park Girl said:

Anyway, back on topic, I don't see it as a bad thing that the Dreamworld CEO has changed, especially given that Deborah's handling of the Dreamworld incident last year tainted Ardent's reputation in more ways than one with the general public.

From my memory :) a few shareholders were not pleased with her being appointed in the first place.

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Ah, well there you go. Sounds like it will be a much welcomed change both inside and out then, especially if the previous decision was causing conflict between shareholders. Onward and upwards, as they say? 

And @themagician thank you, really appreciate the copy and paste 👍 Can't hurt to have the full article content on here, saves everyone having to go and dig it up ☺️

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@Theme Park Girl I also read an editorial back in March about Garry Weiss buying shares.

"Share raider Garry Weiss purchased up about 5 per cent of the company's stock back in March as a possible prelude to forcing board and management changes."

 "Garry Weiss is known to buy a strategic stake and purge the board and management as part of a strategy to lift performance and the company's share price."

Garry Weiss removing Deborah Thomas may be the easiest way to increase share prices.

 

 

 

 

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On 26/04/2017 at 6:23 PM, themagician said:

 

Thank you for posting the full article in my absence @themagician :)

I tried to update my original post to put in the full article in, though it's not letting me via my mobile. Grrr.  

@Theme Park Girl, I agree that Deborah's handing of the incident was left to be desired in the eyes of the media and the public. 

In guess it was a strategic move to replace her, and refresh the brands image, regardless whether Dreamworld or not will be sold. 

Im not a betting kind of guy, though if i were, I guess Dreamworld will await the results of the coronial enquiry and see how the performance of the park goes over the next several months. If things don't improve, then Dreamworld will get the chop and be sold off. 

Just hoping any future owners Invest into the park, and look after it like everyone on parkz would like them to :)

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Has probably been on the cards since she completely ballsed up the handling of the incident last year. I would assume they wanted to try and maintain some stability initially to reduce the bad press.

I guess there could also be some link between the incident and her stepping down - maybe the investigation results are being finalized. There's not really been any further information released around the actual cause of the incident.

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Thing is the bulletin couldn't tell the difference between a normal breakdown and what happened at GL, which is probably just as well.  With this the public interest will be way higher.

 

As for why she 'quit', probably to do both with how Main Event is traveling, and her performance last October.  I think from the moment the journalist from channel 10 gave her the victim's phone number in front of a heap of rolling cameras she was probably doomed.

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