Experience Co CEO resigns amid slow trading period

TOURISM BUSINESS

Victoria Stone-Meadows

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GONE: Former Experience Co CEO Anthony Ritter has stepped down and resigned from the company.
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Adventure tourism operator Experience Co today announced the resignation of CEO, Anthony Ritter, following a period of slow trading for the company.

Company founder and Managing Director, Anthony “Bowie” Boucat, will step into an Executive Director role when a new CEO is appointed.

The ASX listed company halted trading on Monday, 11 February, pending the publication of today’s announcement.

Experience Co operates adventure tours across Australia and New Zealand, including brands such as Tropical Journeys, Daintree Tours, and Calypso, among many others.

Mr Ritter said the decision to step down was carefully considered and he is now looking to his future.

“In recent months, I have given thought to my professional goals for 2019 and beyond and I believe now is the right time to step away from the business and look ahead to new challenges,” he said.

“It is my intention to stay in the tourism sector and after travelling for more than 150 days last calendar year, I’m looking forward to spending a little more time at home, at least in the short term.”

A report from Experience Co released on the ASX website states the company’s sales in all areas except skydiving were lower than expected in the previous quarter of the financial year.

The report points to lower visitor numbers to Far North Queensland and high rainfall during December 2018 as reasons for the drop in revenue.

The report also shows the company has little confidence in the trading term to the end of February 2019, with the earning guidance for this period downgraded by $10 million.

“The Directors have revised the FY2019 earnings guidance due to the continuation of softer trading conditions in FNQ and other adventure activities, combined with continued adverse weather conditions impacting volumes and earnings in both January and February 2019,” the report says.

The company’s revised earnings guidance is now between $155 and $165 million rather than $165 to $175 million.

While the company formally hunts for a new CEO, Non-Executive Chairman, Bob East, will take on the role of Executive Chairman.

Mr East thanked Mr Ritter for his time as CEO and said Experience Co will move forward with positivity. 

“The Board thanks Anthony Ritter for his contribution to the business and wishes him well for his future career and endeavours,” he said.

Amid the turmoil, the Experience Co Board has also appointed a new Chief Financial Officer and a new General Manager of Corporate Development.

Owen Kemp, who was appointed interim CFO at the company in September last year will take on the role permanently.

Ian Douglas, formally of RSM Australia, will be in charge of the company’s development come March 2019.

Mr East said he is buoyed by the new members of the company and is confident Experience Co will get back on track moving forward.

“Ensuring we have the right senior executive team remains a key strategic priority for the Board,” he said.

“We are delighted to have secured senior executives Owen and Ian’s experience and capability and have commenced a process to recruit a suitably qualified and experienced CEO to take the company forward.” 

 

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