Dreamworld chief resigns after damning evidence at inquest

Dreamworld chief resigns after damning evidence at inquest
Dreamworld chief resigns after damning evidence at inquest

Search for replacement as owners promise revamp of management and ride safety

Craig Davidson, who was Dreamworld’s CEO at the time of the Thunder River Rapids Ride disaster, has stepped down from his role. Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP

An international search is under way to find a new chief executive for Dreamworld after a fortnight of damning evidence at the inquest into the 2016 Thunder River Rapids Ride disaster.

Chief executive officer Craig Davidson, who was in the position at the time of the disaster, resigned on Friday.

In the wake of the opening hearings into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi, Dreamworld’s parent company Ardent Leisure is promising to revamp the theme park’s management.

On Sunday Ardent announced the company’s chief experience officer Nicole Noye will take over as acting CEO of Theme Parks until a replacement for Davidson can be found.

Ardent chairman Gary Weiss said in a statement the company had to learn from the troubling evidence that had emerged at the coronial inquest.

“Like everyone else, I have been deeply concerned by what has emerged from the inquiry over the past fortnight, and this is why it is important that we listen to the evidence, understand all we can and apply the lessons learned to ensure such accidents never occur at our parks,” Weiss said.

Before the inquest adjourned until October on Friday, a Dreamworld manager admitted the ride shouldn’t have been operating at the time of the tragedy on October 25, 2016.

Dreamworld policy stated a ride should be shut down after two failures of an exact nature within a 24-hour period.

Ardent said the new management team would further prioritise the ongoing implementation of best-practice safety initiatives, including continuous enhancements in ride safety and all elements of safety systems and procedures.

Noye will be supported by the two new executive appointments of Phil Tanner as director of safety and former Queensland police inspector Mike McKay as director for culture, community and external relations.

“We are committed to enhancing and augmenting the product mix of rides, attractions and shows to deliver a memorable and safe guest experience in our role as a significant player in the Queensland tourism market and continuing to provide employment opportunities for our local community,” Weiss said.

The inquest resumes on October 8.

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