Ardent Leisure appoints new Dreamworld CEO

Gold Coast themepark Dreamworld has a new Chief Executive Officer.

Ardent Leisure confirmed in a statement to the ASX on Tuesday that former Bond University student and experienced tourism and hospitality senior executive John Osborne has been appointed to the top job.

Mr Osborne, who has previously lived, worked and studied on the coast, will take over from acting theme parks CEO Nicole Noye from 5 November.


Commenting on his appointment, Mr Osborne said he is thrilled to be given the opportunity to be part of the team that will “reinvigorate this iconic theme park, restore its reputation and ensure its significant contribution to the Gold Coast economy and broader tourism industry continues into the long-term future.”

“Dreamworld has always made an important contribution to the Gold Coast and Queensland economy and played a significant role in the region’s growth and development,” he said.

“I look forward to working with our staff to ensure we build upon the significant safety initiatives in place and set the standard for safety in theme parks in Australia and around the world.”

Ardent chairman Gary Weiss said he was “delighted” with John’s appointment to the company.

“John brings excellent experience in business transformation, strategy execution, government and private sector relations and has strong leadership skills,” Mr Weiss said.

The announcement comes almost two years since Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapids ride tragedy.

In a statement, new CEO John Osborne expressed his condolences.

“I would like to express my sympathy to the families and all of those so deeply impacted by the tragic incident that occurred at Dreamworld in October 2016,” Mr Osborne said.

“A key reason for my decision to join the team is the Ardent Board’s very strong focus on the welfare and safety of guests and employees and my priority is to work closely with the team to continue this work.

“Our goal is to create a global best practice ‘Safety First’ culture for all concerned.”

Mr Osborne’s previous roles include CEO of ASX- listed Lantern Hotel Group, CEO of NextGen Health and Lifestyle Clubs, CEO of Accor Vacation Club, CEO of Recreational Tourism Group, COO of Burswood International Resort, Casino (now Crown Perth) and CEO of Mingara Recreation Club.