Former senior Bauer Media executive Deborah Thomas made CEO of Ardent Leisure



One of Australia’s largest theme park companies has appointed senior Bauer Media executive Deborah Thomas to the role of CEO.

Thomas, who edited the Australia’s biggest selling magazine, The Australian Women’s Weekly for almost a decade, was previously editorial and media director of women’s magazines and custom publishing at Bauer and replaces current CEO Greg Shaw.

Ardent’s share price responded badly to the news this morning falling 24 per cent on opening, before rebounding, as of 10.30am it was down 13.99 per cent at a share price of $2.09.

“Deborah was appointed a non-executive director of the group on 1 December, 2013, and over the past 15 months has developed a thorough understanding of the group’s diverse portfolio of businesses,” said chairman Neil Balnaves, in a statement.

“The group’s future will be increasingly focused on positioning our businesses to deliver world class customer entertainment and leisure experiences, to maximise organic revenue and profit growth opportunities”.

Ardent owns major theme parks including Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, WhiteWater and Skypoint.

Balnaves praised its previous CEO Shaw saying: “The board of directors would like to thank Greg for his exceptional leadership and commitment to the Group during his tenure and for establishing the building blocks for the group’s future success. We have also been fortunate to have an executive of Deborah’s calibre available to follow on from Greg in the role of chief executive officer. “

The theme park group is currently pitching its media with Starcom, Match Media and Atomic212 reported to be in the final shortlist.

Nic Christensen 


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