Theme parks and entertainment centres operator Ardent Leisure has announced a major restructure of the management of its troubled Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast.
Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson, who was in charge at the time of the Thunder River Rapids ride disaster, is leaving the company and a worldwide search is now underway for his replacement.
Mr Davidson resigned last Friday, as the inquest into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi in 2016 wrapped up a damaging first fortnight of evidence.
On Sunday, Ardent Leisure chairman Gary Weiss announced the management revamp, with Ardent chief experience officer Nicole Noye taking over as acting CEO of Dreamworld.
She will be supported by the two new executive appointments of Phil Tanner as Director of Safety and former Queensland Police Inspector Mike McKay as Director for Culture, Community and External Relations.
‘We are committed to enhancing and augmenting the product mix of rides, attractions and shows to deliver a memorable and safe guest experience in our role as a significant player in the Queensland tourism market and continuing to provide employment opportunities for our local community,’ Mr Weiss said.
He said in the statement the company had to learn from the troubling evidence that had emerged at the coronial inquest.
‘I have been deeply concerned by what has emerged from the inquiry over the past fortnight, and this is why it is important that we listen to the evidence, understand all we can and apply the lessons learned to ensure such accidents never occur at our parks,’ Mr Weiss said.
Dreamworld suffered steep falls in visitor numbers following the accident in October 2016, and the park’s subsequent 45-day shutdown.
The drop in visitors severely affected Ardent’s profits, with it reporting in February a first-half net loss of of $15.6 million, compared to a loss of $49.3 million a year earlier
Revenue was also down 16.3 per cent to $265.6 million, but the company at the time said it expected to trade profitably in the second half of the financial year as Dreamworld attracted more visitors.
Ardent Leisure shares closed at $1.98 last Friday.