RJ’s boss: Extensive number of exec reports’

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The new boss of Queenstown tourism giant Real Journeys is eyeing the “extensive” execu-tive team as part of a shake-up. 

Chief executive Richard Lauder’s (right) proposal could see up to 12 job losses in management, sales and marketing divisions across the company’s Queens–town, Milford Sound, Te Anau and Stewart Island offices. 

Lauder wants to create about six new positions in a bid to “make the organisation better”. 

Asked if Real Journey’s had too many big salaries, Lauder replied: “I do have an extensive number of executive reports and that is part of the consideration. 

“There are some opportunities for change and to realign responsibilities in the organisation to enable Real Journeys to be a high-performance organisation going forward.” 

Lauder’s still seeking feedback on the proposal but initial reactions were as expected. 

“Some people who would be most affected by the change do suffer some uncertainty and nervousness around what’s being proposed. Others see the sensibility of change and have been very supportive.” 

Since starting the job in April, Lauder has conducted a review of the company’s operations and he’s satisfied the number of employees is appropriate for Real Journeys. 

“It’s a very minor adjustment that in effect at the extreme would affect two per cent of our staff.” 

A comprehensive review early in his tenure is appropriate, he says. 

“I think it’s a responsibility of all chief executives to try to advance the performance of the organisation they’re responsible for.” 

Frontline staff won’t be affected and the company will recruit another 200 workers for its peak summer period. 

The move comes after six aircraft engineers employed by Milford Sound Flights – a company co-owned by Real Journeys – were made redundant in May. 

Despite the shake-ups, Lauder insists the company is in good health. 

“Real Journeys is still a strong company in a very good financial position with a very strong balance sheet. 

“But it’s important from my perspective that we’re the best we can be going forward. Therefore no matter what our financial circumstance is or could be, I would be looking at making sure the organisation is set up for a successful 
future.”