Skip to main content

One LTO – Member Update – Letter from CEO-elect Pip Close

Org ChartDear Members,

Following the overwhelming support for a single LTO last week, I am pleased to share with you the Organisation Structure and the appointments to roles for the new MRBTA. Whilst the new structure won’t fully take effect until 1 July 2015, we felt it was important to give staff some certainty regarding their positions as soon as possible. We will certainly keep you fully informed as we transition towards the new structure, in particular the changes that will affect you as Members.

The following key appointments to the Group Manager positions with MRBTA have been made, and I would like to give you some insight into their backgrounds and experience:

Sharna Kearney was previously announced as Group Marketing Manager. Sharna studied a Bachelor of Commerce in Public Relations and Tourism Management at Curtin University where she graduated with First Class Honours.  Sharna worked in the TWA research team in her final year. Sharna worked at the then Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources in Canberra where she worked in regional and niche tourism development and worked in marketing communications for AusIndustry at the Department. She has developed marketing campaigns for exhibitions at The British Library, before joining the National Health Service to develop the Patient Safety First Campaign. She has spent the last five years at GBTA in marketing and more recently in the CEO role. Sharna won the Sir David Brand Young Achiever Medal at the 2012 WA Tourism Awards, which recognises contribution to tourism for people under 30.

Steve Harrison has been appointed to the role of Group Manager Operations. Steve holds a Degree in Applied Biology and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.   He has lectured for Curtin University in Water Resource Management. Steve has a wealth of experience and an extensive range of skills and experience in strategic management and leadership from his previous roles. In his career before moving to Australia Steve held senior positions in Public Sector Policy Development for the Education Department in London and was responsible for the leadership and operational management of large teams to implement major projects. Over the last 15 years, Steve has further developed his expertise through his consultancy work for a multi-media resource company, 3T in London and Coopers & Lybrand. He has owned and operated a retail business and has held leadership roles as President of the Margaret River Chamber of Commerce, Augusta Margaret River Shire President and Chairman of the South West Development Commission.

Keith Meyer has been appointed to the role of Group Manager Corporate Services. Keith is a qualified CPA with more than 30 years of experience. Keith started his career in public practise and has held senior Accountant positions at BHP, Stratco, Aditya Birla and senior accounting positions with Kelloggs and Schweppes. He joined AMRTA seven years ago. Keith has a passion for green practises and will be driving the organisations green policy going forward. His vast range of experience in business accounting will be crucial in transitioning the businesses to form MRBTA.

Marketing will be responsible for Destination Marketing and all of the activities relating to Member Servicing and support.  The membership team has been expanded, with a team of three staff to better service and support members. A new Business Development Manager role has also been created which will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies to maximise opportunities with domestic and overseas travel trade to increase visitation to the Margaret River Region.

Operations will encompass management of the Attractions (caves and lighthouses), Visitor Servicing, Airport Operations and management of the Association’s natural resources in a manner which protects their natural, cultural, heritage and tourism values. An exciting addition to this area will be a dedicated Reservations Manager role within the Visitor Servicing team to better service and leverage opportunities from group, corporate and travel package markets.

Corporate Services
Corporate Services plays a key role in the Association’s corporate governance and has overall accountability for the Association’s financial, contractual and legal matters, to ensure that all statutory requirements, standards and legal obligations are met. Corporate Services is also responsible for the Association’s retail strategy and co-ordinating the Association’s approach to the development and investment in IT to allow for the full provision of information to management and the maximum efficiency of operations.

Together the organisations employ more than 100 staff and the vast majority have continuing roles within MRBTA. We are pleased that there have been very few job losses across the organisations as we have previously advised.

We have followed the process of considering Strategy first, then designing the right structure to deliver the strategy, and finally the selection of people to roles within the structure. With all of these appointments we have worked through a thorough and objective process with an external HR consultant to assess the skills of each candidate against the requirements for the new positions within what will be a larger Association. I believe we have a very strong team in place for the future MRBTA and we are very excited about the opportunities ahead.

We are committed to supporting affected staff through the transition to the new LTO. Two staff, whose roles have been redundant, have the option to remain employed until 30 June 2015, to take advantage of outplacement services and have been offered other positions in the organisation in addition to their redundancy payment.

Four staff, whose contracts will not be renewed, will have the option to remain employed until their contract ends and have also been offered to opportunity to take advantage of outplacement services, something which is generally not offered to contract employees. In accordance with their contracts only one month’s notice of termination of the contract is required, but we have chosen to give them the maximum notice possible to give them the best possible chance of finding alternative employment. These were very difficult decisions for the organisation as there are some very talented and good performing people who were with the Associations in a fixed term capacity.

Over the next few weeks we will start working in earnest on our Transition Plans and will make sure we keep you informed as we progress.

Now the hard, but exciting work begins!

Kind Regards,

Pip Close