Simon Kelly named as Ardent Leisure Group’s CEO as Deborah Thomas steps down

The parent company of Australian theme park Dreamworld has announced Deborah Thomas will step down as its CEO and former Nine executive Simon Kelly will take the reins.

The announcement comes five months after four people were killed during a malfunction on the Dreamworld ride, the Thunder River Rapids.

Kelly will replace Thomas as CEO

Thomas, will instead commence a new role as group managing director, chief customer officer and chief operating officer at the company, on July 1.

Ardent Leisure’s former CFO, Richard Johnson, has resigned for personal reasons.

Kelly was most recently the principal at SDAT Consulting for nine months.

He was also a non-executive director at Intecq for 10 months and at Sky News for over two years in 2013, after leaving Nine Entertainment Co as COO, CFO and company secretary for almost four years.

He was also the non-executive director at Stan in 2014 for over one year.

Ardent Leisure group chairman, Mr. George Venardos, said in a statement: “During Deborah’s leadership our company has experienced an unprecedented level of reorientation and change and has positioned itself strongly for solid future growth.”

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


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