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Board drives secret restructuring at Destination Queenstown

The resort’s promotion powerhouse is in for a secret shakeup.

A draft restructuring plan was put to Destination Queenstown’s 11 staff last week – axing a market manager position is among changes proposed.

DQ chair Erna Spijkerbosch won’t discuss details but Mountain Scene understands the roles of market managers Linda McIntosh and Catriona Noonan would be rolled into one – McIntosh is on maternity leave.

Marketing general manager Graham Budd’s role would also be scaled down.

DQ has hired Rotorua tourism identity Oscar Nathan to consult with staff.

The restructure – not mentioned in DQ’s latest business plan – is about being “fiscally responsible” in a recession, Spijkerbosch says.

“We haven’t set out to ruffle feathers or unsettle anybody.

“The board has a duty to ratepayer members to look at every­thing.”

She denies the plan’s driven by new DQ boss Stephen Pahl.

“It’s a process we were thinking about prior to a change of CEO – the board had been looking at the structure since we first went for the [additional $1 million of] funding last year [from ratepayers].”

Spijkerbosch concedes consult­ation may result in no change: “Then it’s been a very good exer­cise that’s confirmed what we’re doing is right.”

But if the restructure’s canned, doesn’t that mean a question mark over Pahl’s position?

“Why ever? I don’t think the recession’s got anything to do with the CEO.”

Pahl echoes his chairman’s view that he and the DQ board are “duty-bound” to look at the most efficient structure to deliver its business plan.

It’s not about Pahl putting his stamp on DQ – “It’s not about me, it’s not about people”.

“Most businesses in this day are looking at the best way to cut their cloth.”

Told his chairman concedes the review mightn’t change anything, Pahl responds: “I don’t know why she would have said that.”

Long-time local tourism operator Geoff Clear calls the restructure “a silly move”.

“We’re just going to have in-house bickering and a down­­turn of [staff] confidence.

“While it’s a vulnerable economy, we’ve got to keep the status quo – it’s working.

“Eighty per cent of DQ members wouldn’t know what’s happening, there are too many secret squirrels.”

Clear is adamant the restructure is Pahl’s idea and will be rubber-stamped by the board.

Pahl’s first attempt to restructure DQ failed, however.

He tried to end Australia-based marketing rep Jana Kingston’s contract and have DQ convention bureau staff handle the role – Pahl backtracked after a storm of protest from local operators.