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Gary Weiss takes on Chairman’s role at Ardent Leisure

Gary Weiss takes on Chairman’s role at Ardent Leisure
September 29, 2017

Just three weeks after gaining a board seat, Ariadne Australia's Dr Gary Weiss has been appointed the new Chairman of Ardent Leisure.

Ardent announced that George Venardos will step down as Chairman and as a Director of the company with Dr Weiss, who had repeatedly challenged the incumbent board on its performance, taking on the Chairman's role immediately

Dr Weiss is Executive Director of Ardent's largest shareholder Ariadne Australia and his appointment comes after the owner of Dreamworld agreed earlier this month to appoint him and his ally Brad Richmond to the board to avert a spill vote on Ardent's board.

Ardent shareholders will vote on the board composition on 20th November, where three Directors, David Haslingden, Don Morris and Roger Davis, are up for re-election but have the support of the new Chairman.

Ariadne's Director Brad Richmond is also seeking election to the Ardent board at the upcoming annual general meeting in Sydney.

Dr Weiss' rise to his new role at Ardent comes after a long and at times bitter campaign with Venardos and the Ardent board over the running of the entertainment and leisure business.

Ardent's troubles began in October last year after four people were killed on a ride at the Gold Coast-based theme park, Dreamworld. Two days later, Ardent held its now infamous AGM where the then Chief Executive Deborah Thomas was blasted by shareholders over her bonus.

Thomas left the group in May this year but remains as a consultant, working on the coronial inquest of the Dreamworld tragedy. She was replaced by Simon Kelly.

The group's focus is now its Main Event entertainment business in the United States, but it has five centres in the immediate Houston area which were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas in late August.

Commenting on his new role, Dr Weiss stated "I would like to acknowledge the dedication with which George has led the boards through an unprecedented period and thank him for agreeing, in the interests of all security holders, to an orderly transition.

"As newly appointed Chairman, I am committed to stabilising the structure and composition of the boards.

"On the re-election of each of those directors, I and my associated interests believe the boards will be of the right size and composition to position the Ardent Group for future success and there should be no need for any further governance changes for the foreseeable future, other than the appointment of another female independent non-executive director in line with the Ardent Group's stated board renewal plan."

Venardos succeeded the former, long-time chairman Neil Balnaves last year. He had been on the Ardent board for eight years and is retiring.

The board changes saw Ardent's share price rise 1.9% to $1.84 and Ariadne rise 1.3% to 77¢.

Image courtesy of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

14th September 2017 - DREAMWORLD TO REMOVE MOUNTAIN SURROUNDING ITS EUREKA MOUNTAIN MINE RIDE

4th September 2017 - ARDENT LEISURE INVITES REBEL SHAREHOLDERS TO JOIN BOARD

27th August 2017 - DREAMWORLD TRAGEDY HIGHLIGHTS LEGAL DUTY OF CARE FOR THEME PARK GUESTS

23rd August 2017 - QUEENSLAND TO IMPLEMENT NEW SAFETY LAWS FOLLOWING DREAMWORLD TRAGEDY REPORT

26th July 2017 - ARDENT LEISURE SHAREHOLDER ARIADNE CALLS FOR $25 MILLION IN NEW ATTRACTIONS AT DREAMWORLD

11th July 2017 - DREAMWORLD BATTLES INCONSISTENT ATTENDANCES AND FALLING REVENUES

30th June 2017 - DREAMWORLD LAUNCHES AFTER DARK THRILL EXPERIENCE 

24th May 2017 - ARDENT LOOKS TO QUASH DREAMWORLD SALE RUMOURS, EXPLORES SITE REZONING PLAN

9th May 2017 - DREAMWORLD SUFFERS FURTHER ATTENDANCE AND REVENUE SLUMP 

16th April 2017 - CONSULTING ENGINEER REBUTS AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S WEEKLY RIDE SAFETY ‘INVESTIGATION’

6th April 2017 - AALARA 2017 CONFERENCE PROGRAM FOCUSES ON ATTRACTIONS SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE 

4th April 2017 - ARDENT LEISURE CHIEF EXECUTIVE ‘APPEARED TO BE DUCKING FOR COVER’ FOLLOWING DREAMWORLD FATALITIES 

13th March 2017 - PARKZ WEBSITE LAUNCHES SUPPORT OUR THEME PARKS CAMPAIGN 

10th December 2016 - GUESTS TRICKLE BACK AS DREAMWORLD REOPENS 

29th October 2016 - QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT TO UNDERTAKE ‘SAFETY BLITZ’ ON THEME PARKS

25th October 2016 - ARDENT LEISURE SHARES FALL AFTER DREAMWORLD TRAGEDY 

23rd February 2015 - DREAMWORLD’S EUREKA MOUNTAIN SET FOR POTENTIAL REOPENING


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