Ardent Leisure, owner of Dreamworld and WhiteWater World, has fast-tracked the departure of former CEO and MD, Deborah Thomas, providing her a year’s base salary of $731,291 in the process. While she will forfeit some of her incentive plan monies, she will maintain others and will receive $3000 per day to provide ongoing support to the new CEO, senior management and board of Ardent in respect to the pending coronial inquiry into the Dreamworld tragedy.
In April, Ardent announced the appointment of Simon Kelly as group chief executive officer and managing director, commencing July 1, 2017. However, on June 9, they announced Kelly would take over the role effective immediately.
Thomas will cease employment with Ardent with effect from July 1, 2017.
Ardent chairman George Venardos expressed the board’s sincere gratitude for her contribution as CEO and MD during an exceptionally busy and challenging period in the group’s history.
“It is a testament to Deborah’s professionalism and character that she has agreed to remain part of the team and provide valuable support and continuity to Ardent and the various official bodies preparing for the Coronial Inquiry into the Dreamworld tragedy. The Coronial Inquiry is of great importance and priority to Ardent and all of the families, staff, and members of the community impacted by that tragedy, and Deborah will help ensure Ardent gives that process the full attention, focus and resources it rightly deserves.”
Ardent is still searching for a new chief financial officer.
The Group suffered losses following the Dreamworld tragedy, and based on YTD performance and current expectations for attendance, revenue and expenditures through the end of the financial year, Ardent expects its Theme Park division to report an EBITDA loss of between $2 million and $4 million for the 12 months ending 30 June 2017.