The boss of one of Queenstown’s biggest hospitality operators is relocating after a major expansion into Auckland.
Good Group chief executive Russell Gray (right) confirms this week he and wife Melanie will move north for the firm in mid-October.
Gray’s pending relocation comes after Good Group Ltd’s sister company Safari Hospitality Ltd snapped up iconic Auckland seafood restaurant Harbourside.
Harbourside, in downtown Auckland’s historic Ferry Building and above the group’s new Botswana Butchery Auckland restaurant, changes hands October 1.
The Queenstown-based operator will have a combined staff in Auckland of more than 100, on top of about 50 people at Christchurch businesses.
Gray says its Wakatipu and Wanaka operations will employ about a third of company staff.
“We just felt we needed to have one of our directors based in Auckland given we’ve got two big businesses up there,” Gray says.
“It’s relatively easy for Melanie and I to relocate so we’ll do that and leave the Sparys and co down here to keep an eye on things.”
Gray says he’ll still spend time in Queenstown and Christchurch supporting the southern operations.
In Queenstown, the company runs Botswana Butchery, Bardeaux, Barmuda, MiniBar, SkyBar, Harry’s and Queenstown Airport cafe and bar Bing Bong.
“With technology, I run Auckland and Christchurch from Queenstown so I’ll run Queenstown and Christchurch from Auckland.”
Safari and Good Group share directors – Gray, Andy Brinsley, Matt Paterson, Al Spary and Dunedin’s Graeme McLachlan.
Gray, who will remain as chief executive, previously lived in Auckland in the 1990s, working in banking and finance.
In the Wakatipu, he’s been heavily involved in the community as a director of tourism body Destination Queenstown, from which he’s resigned, and was instrumental in setting up Southern Lakes rugby scholarships aimed at keeping aspiring young players in Otago. Gray will continue with this, but has resigned as chair of the Arrowtown Community Sports Centre Trust and from the Otago-Southland’s Institute of Directors committee.