Tourism Australia chief quits to head up adventure tourism company


Tourism Australia has announced that its managing director, John O’Sullivan, is leaving the organisation to take up a new role as CEO and executive director of the ASX-listed company, Experience Co.

He will leave the organisation in June, handing the baton over to Tourism Australia’s executive general manager international, Phillipa Harrison, who will act as interim managing director until a permanent replacement is found. A search to find O’Sullivan’s successor is underway.


O’Sullivan, who joined Tourism Australia in March 2014, said the time was right to step down after five years in a leadership role of promoting Australia to the world.

“It’s with mixed emotions that I now move on, but I feel I’m leaving the organisation in a really good position. Australian tourism is performing well, with international arrivals and spending both at record levels. We’ve reshaped our marketing narrative. Our Tourism 2020 journey is nearly complete, with the A$115 billion (US$80 billion) target set back in 2009 already achieved, and I firmly believe Tourism Australia is driving the right strategy to take the industry to new levels,” he said.

Tourism Australia chairman, Bob East commented: “Tourism Australia and the Australian tourism industry have gone from strength to strength under John’s stewardship. From the beginning, John has set a clear direction for Tourism Australia – value over volume – and has systematically set about executing that strategy.

“Targeting high yielding travellers who stay longer, do more and spend more when they come Down Under has become a mantra for the tourism industry, helping deliver record spending and tangible results for thousands of Australian tourism businesses,” he added.

Tourism Australia has also confirmed that it will be promoting Susan Coghill into the role of chief marketing officer, replacing Lisa Ronson who left the organisation in March.

Coghill is currently general manager creative, content and campaigns, where she has helped develop Tourism Australia’s recent Dundee, Undiscover Australia and Australia Inc campaigns, as well as oversee the appointment of new global creative agency, M&C Saatchi.

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