The shock departure of the marketing boss from Queenstown’s skifield operator is being put down to “personal reasons”.
NZSki chief executive James Coddington won’t comment further on why sales and marketing general manager David Ovendale has finished with the company.
Coddington: “No – they’re personal reasons. I’m saddened I’m no longer working with David.”
Ovendale also cites “personal reasons” and reveals he resigned after seven years without another job lined up. He finished seven weeks ago and says it took two weeks before talks began with new employer Value Tours, a Sydney-based ski and snowboard tour operator.
“Hence my garden has no weeds,” Ovendale says.
Asked why he’d leave a plum job without another in the wings, Ovendale said: “Life’s a journey and seven years is a long time. Sometimes there are reasons to go. Mine are personal. They need to stay personal.”
His departure splits the Coddington and Ovendale dream team – they steered The Remarkables and Coronet Peak ski fields operator to Queenstown’s Business of the Year title last November.
At the time, a jubilant Coddington danced a jig on stage when accepting the award and heaped praise on Ovendale whom he referred to as the “little guy”.
Ovendale, with his wife and kids, plans moving to Sydney where he’ll be the general manager for Value Tours, which brings groups to New Zealand.
As a South African, he says he must wait six weeks for an Australian visa and admits it’s an exciting adventure but “daunting”.
“With two kids under 10 it’s bloody daunting – the relative fear of the unknown, new school, Sydney ain’t cheap,” Ovendale says.
He hopes to return to Queenstown before his kids start high school and has no plans to sell his new Quail Rise home.
“Ironically we’ve just finished building. I look at this and it tugs at my heartstrings.”
Coddington says NZSki is engaging a recruitment firm to find a replacement.