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Helloworld boss Gurney says goodbye and is replaced

March 31, 2014 Corporate, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59In a shock move on Friday, towards the end of an eventful month for helloworld, the travel company’s chief executive and managing director Rob Gurney stood down from his positions, effective immediately. Elizabeth Gaines was confirmed as his replacement.

Gurney, who departs during the multi-million-dollar reorganisation of the group once known as Jetset Travelworld, will remain available “to provide assistance to the board over the coming months”, according to a company statement.

Gurney had indicated to the board that as the helloworld business transformation had reached an advanced stage, “he wishes to pursue a new opportunity with an international focus”, the statement said.

Gaines, his successor, has been with the company and its predecessors since 2008, serving as chief operating officer, chief financial officer  and executive director. She is also a director of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA).

Earlier in this unusual month for helloworld, the company’s board called in an independent employment consultancy, to conduct confidential interviews with helloworld’s leadership team to garner their frank views on the way the company was being run.

The style of management was under scrutiny, insiders reported.

Before departing on Friday, Gurney thanked the travel agents, supplier partners and staff at helloworld for their commitment and support. He said helloworld consisted of an impressive group of agent partners “that are both passionate and professional and will undoubtedly be a major force in the Australian travel industry”.

Gurney, formerly a senior Qantas executive, took the top role at the former Jetset Travelworld Group mid 2012 after the departure of Peter Lacaze.

The final days of last week were particularly hectic for helloworld.

On Thursday, Helloworld Limited lost an appeal in the Federal Court of Australia against the Commissioner of Taxation over a GST matter involving a sum approaching AUD 2 million.

The GST claim related to the operations of the inbound travel business, ATS Pacific Pty Ltd, sold to the AOT Group Limited on 30 September 2013. The appeal decision on Thursday found in favour of the Commissioner of Taxation.

While a complex matter which will need to be carefully reviewed and assessed, the company considers it likely that the outcome of the decision will result in a non-recurring expense (net of income tax) to Helloworld Limited in the range of AUD 1.7 million to AUD 2 million (exclusive of any interest, costs or penalties which have yet to be determined).

In addition, HLO will be required to remit GST that has been withheld during the process of the claim.

Helloworld noted that the court’s decision would have no material ongoing impact on company profitability, as the company no longer runs an inbound travel business.

In a separate development earlier in March, Helloworld Limited’s company secretary resigned.

Written by William Sykes

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    I would sack anyone who would actually pay a company to come up with such a ridiculous name.

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