FAREWELL: CEO to leave Sealink after 21 years
JEFF Ellison, chief executive officer of SeaLink, which owns Eurong Beach and Kingfisher Bay resorts on Fraser Island, has made the decision to leave the company after 21 years at the helm.
His decision comes just weeks after two 16-year old Japanese boys drowned in Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island during a free-time session of a tour run by SeaLink for a group of 29 people.
Mr Ellison came to the Fraser Coast in the wake of the tragedy, travelling from his home in Adelaide to support the staff at Kingfisher Bay Resort, many of whom had been involved in the search for the two boys when they went missing on March 29.
Their bodies were found on March 30.
At the time Mr Ellison said he was proud of how his staff had responded to the tragic incident.
"They were involved in the search and to have an outcome like this is very sad,” Mr Ellison said.
"Our thoughts and deep condolences go out to their family and friends and the group they were travelling with.
"We are deeply saddened by this tragic event.
"We acknowledge the dedication of island residents and emergency services in the search and rescue efforts, and understand that the matter is now being handled by police in conjunction with Japanese authorities.
"Our staff have done an amazing job in a very difficult time.”
Mr Ellison said an internal investigation would be conducted into the incident.
"We have reviewed all our safety protocols and we are very comfortable with what they say,” he said.
The tragedy came just a few months after Kingfisher Bay Resort received worldwide exposure when Prince Harry and wife Meghan stayed the night in late October.
He told the Financial Review he would hand the reins to a new chief executive by the October annual meeting at the latest.
Mr Ellison, who is also a board member of Tourism Australia, said SeaLink was on the lookout for more bolt-on acquisitions, along the same lines as Kingfisher Bay Resort and Eurong Beach Resort.
Being able to integrate acquisitions has been an important skill during his time at the helm, and will be for the new boss as well.
Mr Ellison and his wife Toni have four adult children and a grandson.