Ardent Leisure's CEO has just quit after only 5 months

The Dreamworld reopening. Glenn Hunt/Getty Images

Simon Kelly has resigned as CEO and Managing Director of theme park operator Ardent Leisure Group.

Kelly, a former Nine network senior executive, took over in July this year from former magazine editor Deborah Thomas who departed following the Dreamworld theme park tragedy which left four people dead.

Kelly said: “It has been a pleasure to lead the Group and I am pleased that we have made real progress on our strategic and operational priorities. I remain very positive about the potential of the Group’s businesses.”

Neither the company nor Kelly gave a reason for his departure.

A short time ago, Ardent shares were down 3.4% to $1.81.

Ardent Chairman Dr Gary Weiss said: “The Board of Directors is disappointed with Simon’s resignation and would like to thank him for his contribution to the Group and wish him well in the future.”

Geoff Richardson, the Chief Financial Officer, takes over immediately as Interim Chief Executive Officer while the company searches for a new CEO.

The company says Dreamworld trading remains challenged but is operating above break-even ahead of the peak trading over the summer months.

Four people died in October last year on the Thunder River rapids ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast when two rafts collided. The theme park reopened on December 10.

The company in August reported a full year net loss after tax of $62.6 million, significantly impacted by the Dreamworld tragedy.

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