Top tourism boss is out of her job
THE Gold Coast's leading tourism boss has sensationally resigned after two years in the role.
Annaliese Battista abrupt decision to exit as the chief executive at Destination Gold Coast will send shockwaves through the industry at a time it is desperately seeking leadership to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm incredibly privileged to have led Destination Gold Coast over the past two years. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together during this time," Ms Battista said.
"It is a fantastic organisation with a strong volunteer Board and a dedicated team of professional staff.
"My decision to resign was in close consultation with the Board. I am grateful for their support and guidance."
Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan confirmed Ms Battista resigned with immediate effect on Tuesday morning.
"She resigned, (the Destination Gold Coast board) accepted that and we wish her all the best in the future," he said.
"We thank Annaliese for all she has done for Destination Gold Coast in the past two years."
Mr Donovan declined to discuss the reasons for Ms Battista's departure, saying it was "commercial in confidence".
Destination Gold Coast will now launch a national search to find a replacement for Ms Battista.
Mr Donovan insisted he would remain on as chairman.
Ms Battista was headhunted for the highly-paid position in August 2018 following the retirement of Martin Winter. At the time Mr Donovan trumpeted the exhaustive recruitment process to ensure the best candidate possible got the job.
Ms Battista through her two years in the role became well-known as a fierce advocate of the Gold Coast who was not afraid to fight for the city.
In September 2018 she used her keynote address to the Gold Coast Bulletin's Future Gold Coast Forum to call for the State Government to commit greater tourism funding to promoting the city.
In January she was the first civic leader to grasp the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and had successfully fought to secure emergency relief funding from both the State Government and Gold Coast City Council for the tourism industry.
Ms Battista, who came to the Gold Coast from a top role in Perth local government - including a period as acting council CEO during a time of turmoil - is yet to comment.
More to come
Originally published as BREAKING: Gold Coast tourism boss out