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Friday
Sep302011

Destination Thames

There is no doubt about it, it has been a great week for Mayor Glenn Leach.

On Wednesday, he disposed of the Chief Executive whom he had made clear during the election campaign was for the high jump. Whatever one may think of Steve Ruru, he was a good CEO, but he had been in the position long enough. It was just a shame that he did not recognise the train approaching early enough, and negotiate an exit settlement before it came down to a final selection. A man of Steve's acuity should have realised sooner what everyone else could see was coming. Leach just had too much swinging on securing his departure. 

This evening the axe fell on the old amateur Tourism Coromandel Board. They were gone in a flash as the switch to the new Destination Coromandel took place. Once again it was not before time, but what amazed was the installation without protest of the slate of new Directors (Trustees) of the new Trust - all hand picked by Leach - one even lives next door. They all seem highly credible operators, and the old Board won't be missed. Certainly the full meeting (15 voting members plus hangers-on) were mightily impressed, and the new constitution and Board were adopted unanimously - subject to confirmation on 30 October, with the new board setup taking over on 1 November.  

What is even more impressive is that Mayor Leach, who has clearly driven this whole process with the total support of Mayor Tregidga, managed to get all four remaining employeees, including Jim Archibald, to sign 4 month employment contracts today. This will give the new Board the flexibility it needs to get the new ship under way, and drop barnacle baggage as it sees fit.

Certainly the 2010/11 financials showing a $136,000 loss on the Whangamata Just4KIds Festival through lack of sponsorship showed up some substantial management shortcomings which will not have gone un-noticed by the new crew. It surely is the nail in the coffin of TC event management, and led to an overall $111,000 loss for the year. The new Board will almost certainly be coming back to the two Councils seeking additional funding to cover this loss, and more ambitious spending plans aimed at bolstering the promotion budget. There was a great deal of Mayoral massaging going on during the course of the meeting which had the distinct sound of ratepayer largesse, sooner or later.

One interesting item in the accounts was a $10,833 bad debt write-off which the manager explained was actually an amount owed by HDC that is "in the process of negotiation". If that is the case, why was it written off? There was no audit report attached to the accounts, which seems strange for an incorporated society. The Councils will certainly need to make sure that the new governance structure improves this aspect of the operation.     

It will certainly be interesting to see if old loyalties dating back 19 years involving the two Mayors and Archibald, survive the transition. Jim may survive, but I suspect that there is a total clean out agenda under way. As one of the new appointees stated tonight in his introduction "Change management generally brings about totally unexpected change". Well, we will see, and Leach certainly indicated an intention to let the Board get on with the job of promoting the Districts without interference.

This is all being done under the great economic development banner.  

Here are the CVs for the new Trustees as promulgated in a TCDC Press Release this evening. (Ben Day - the new TCDC spin doctor, is certainly on the ball): 

John Sandford - Chairman

John Sandford has a deep interest and experience in business and economic development, marketing and communications, leadership development and strategic planning.

Since mid-2006 he has been a Director and Advisor for companies including Jason’s Travel Media Ltd Auckland and Brisbane, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts and Rodney Forests Limited.

He is a mentor for Business Mentors NZ and the New Zealand Institute of Management.

Included among his previous commercial governance experience is trustee and board membership of North Shore City’s economic and business skills development unit, Enterprise North Shore.

He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management and an accredited member of the Institute of Directors of NZ.

Brent Page

Brent Page started his career in sales and marketing and has built successful businesses with his ability to recognise the skill of individuals and unlock their potential through motivational captaincy.

He steered a campaign of mergers and acquisitions involving seven companies culminating in the formation of the country’s largest New Zealand-owned ICT/multimedia company, Connect NZ. Turnover increased from $8m to $42m during his tenure as CEO. He stepped down in 2009 but remains a shareholder and non-executive Director, enjoys travel and works on his 4.5 acre property with his partner Lise in Kuaotunu.

He has a passion for effective, pragmatic action and has many ideas for progressing the Coromandel through its tourism potential.

Graeme Osborne

With 10 years as CEO of Tourism Auckland, Graeme Osborne is an accomplished director with significant success in business strategy, refocus and recovery in the tourism sector.

He was Chief Executive during the development of the $20 million Kelly Tarlton Antarctic Encounter, GM at Rainbows End 1986 Ltd and GM for the US$20 million commissioning and opening of the Blue Zoo Beijing, which became one of the city’s Top 10 attractions in its first year.

A strong connection with iwi, he was a business mentor for Maori Tourism, led the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute from insolvency to record net profit in two years and is currently Director/Owner of the New Zealand Company Ltd.

 

 


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Reader Comments (2)

Sorry Bill, There was an unqualified audit report attached and the standard of presentation and information contained in the accounts is more at the level of a major corporate than a small Incorporated Society. Just check on line.
The issue of the the Hauraki 10K was discussed with the auditors and as he concurred, that at this time the debt was doubtful it should be identified more as a bad debt than buried in the debtors to improve the bottom line.
There will be no approach to Councils and the ratepayers for further funds as the current budget is structured to reduce the deficit substantially and if fully adhered to will clear the deficit this financial year.
The Just 4 Kids Festival was modeled on a successful Australian event which delivers $8 million into the Warnambool economy in July each year. We were confident that given time to establish the festival we would be able to deliver similar results. Unfortunately, the economic downturn hampered our attempts to obtain sponsorship and in spite of extensive domestic marketing we could not meet our attendance targets. The upside, because of our ability to leverage the media was that a 38k marketing spend gave us around a 100k in equivalent advertising value in our key domestic markets.
The Festival was a success, it brought together the community ( there is a large volunteer component), it was well managed and the surveys from attending parents gave a 98% satisfaction result. If we had had the adequate resources to stage the festival over three years and absorb the loss as an investment then we would have created an event that would have rivaled the Scallop festival in its benefit to the community.

Jim Archibald

October 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJMA

Fair enough Jim - I am just so pleased to get a response, and yours certainly argues well on the Just4Kids issue.
The Audit Report was certainly not attached to my copy of the accounts - it must have been removed. I don't accept that the standard is that of a major corporate - certainly none that I am familiar with. And incorporated societies are required to produce accounts appropriate to the circumstances as far as I am aware. I do bow to the Auditor's superior knowledge in regard to the write-off, but maintain that it would normally have been noted that it was 'under negotiation' - that is simply a matter of accounting 'convention' which can be argued until the cows come home, and is all water under the bridge now.
Anyway, congratulations on getting the new structure in place, and good luck for the future. I will be watching with great interest. At least the 'storm of protest' blew over, and I observed the principal critic voting along with everyone else!

October 1, 2011 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

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