The boss at one of Queenstown’s tourism giants has quit.
Jeff Staniland (pictured), who has headed Skyline Enterprises for seven years, will serve a notice period until the end of this month.
He steps down as the company faces one of its most dynamic periods since it began operating back in 1967.
It celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017 and has a $100 million redevelopment project in the works for 2018, which includes a new gondola.
Board chairman Mark Quickfall, who confirmed the resignation, says the board will meet on the West Coast tomorrow.
The search for a successor will then begin in earnest.
But he was coy on Staniland’s reasons.
“Time for a change, I think, and we spoke about some of the opportunities he’s cons-idering but I should leave that for Jeff to tell you.”
Staniland, 55, who quit last month, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Queenstown mayor Jim Boult, himself a tourism heavyweight before taking the chains, says: “My dealings with Jeff were always very positive.
“It’s been an intensive period of growth for the industry and the business during his time.”
Skyline cleaned up at the Westpac Queenstown Business Awards on Saturday night, winning three categories and the 2016 supreme business award.
Quickfall says being prepared for high-powered resignations is part of doing business.
He says the company’s in a busy period but has “very good” general managers to fall back on.
“Everything’s well supported. But it will certainly leave a gap in the business.”
Quickfall’s sounded out recruitment agencies and expects an appointment before Christmas.
“We’ll need someone certainly multi-talented because we’re a tourism and property company. A good leader, strong experience in business, and can empower the people to do the job.”
Quickfall says Skyline likes to empower senior people rather than centralise power. Each project has board directors assigned to them, he says. Quickfall himself and Grant Hensman are on the redevelopment programme.
Skyline Queenstown boss Lyndon Thomas is also playing a key role.
Quickfall says the company, which has more than 230 employees, has grown dramatically during Staniland’s tenure.
That includes expanding into Canada and South Korea, buying Totally Tourism and its portfolio of operations such as The Helicopter Line, and building a $6m premium retail building on Queenstown’s waterfront.
“No question, no one likes to lose senior people but as Jeff put it himself, seven years in the hot-seat is above average.
“We’ve enjoyed his steady influence.”