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Neil Balnaves to depart Ardent Leisure as group announces name change

Neil Balnaves to depart Ardent Leisure as group announces name change
September 26, 2016

Ardent Leisure Chair Neil Balnaves has announced that he will step down from his role in November, but will drive a change of name for the business, to Main Event Entertainment Ltd, before he retires.

Balnaves, who has headed Ardent Leisure (formerly Macquarie Leisure Trust) since 2001, will be leaving with the Group looking to focus purely on attractions and entertainment after selling its Goodlife Health Clubs division to private equity house Quadrant in a $260 million deal and its d’Albora marinas division up for sale.

Commenting on his departure, Balnaves stated “the last 13 years at Ardent Leisure has seen significant growth with the market capitalisation of the Group rising from $106 million in 2003 to over $1.2 billion today.”

He added that Ardent’s decision for Ardent to sell Goodlife meant the group had a clear growth strategy, with the focus now on its theme parks and US-based FEC and bowling alley business Main Event.

George Venardos - a non-executive Director of Ardent appointed to its board in 2009 - will replace Balnaves as Chair.

Acknowledging Balnaves role, Venardos stated “on behalf of the board of directors, I would like to acknowledge Neil’s outstanding contribution, leadership, integrity and vision throughout his 13‐year tenure as chair.

“Neil’s sponsorship and support of the recent strategic review has been instrumental in repositioning the group as Australia’s leading international entertainment business.”

Before his departure, Balnaves is driving one final change, announcing plans to renamed the company as Main Event Entertainment Ltd.

Explaining the name change, the company advised via its AGM notice that the new name will “better reflect the group's focus on entertainment and the fast growing Main Event Entertainment business in the United States.”

Over recent years the group’s US-based Main Event division has been its top performer.

Images: Neil Balnaves (top) and Ardent's US-based Main Event division (below).

24th August 2016 - ARDENT LEISURE FULL YEAR RESULTS STRONG REVENUE GROWTH

19th August 2016 - ARDENT LEISURE SELLS GOODLIFE​ HEALTH CLUBS IN $260 MILLION DEAL

31st March 2016 - ARDENT LEISURE LOOKS TO SELL MARINAS DIVISION

18th February 2016 - ARDENT LEISURE RECORDS 20% PROFIT RISE BACKED BY IMPROVED FEC AND THEME PARK VISITS

21st August 2015 - ARDENT LEISURE RECORDS PROFIT DIP BUT LOOKS AT FEC EXPANSION

22nd July 2015 - ARDENT LEISURE PLANS INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION 

10th July 2013 - CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP AT ARDENT LEISURE THEME PARKS

15th December 2011 - DREAMWORLD CELEBRATES 30TH BIRTHDAY 

29th October 2011 - PRICE WAR HITS REVENUE AT ARDENT ATTRACTIONS


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