Destination Gold Coast names new CEO

Destination Gold Coast (DGC) has announced the appointment of Patricia O’Callaghan as its new chief executive.

O’Callaghan replaces Annaliese Battista, who surprised just about everyone when she resigned from the top role at DGC in August after just two years.

The process to appoint a new CEO commenced four months ago for DGC, with more than 300 applicants vying for the Gold Coast’s top tourism job.

DGC chairman Paul Donovan said the board of directors chose O’Callaghan after an extensive and extremely competitive selection process.

“Ms O’Callaghan will build on the current strong position of DGC and the City of Gold Coast through a focused approach on our future strategies and plans,” he said.

“Key factors in the appointment of Ms O’Callaghan were her vision for the city, proven deliverables in facilitating the concept to completion of major infrastructure projects, and strong leadership skills.

“Patricia has been the CEO of Townsville Enterprise over the past six years, where she has been instrumental in attracting major investment to the region and has done an outstanding job in achieving economic growth for her hometown.”

Commenting on her new role, O’Callaghan said she was excited and eager to work with DGC’s stakeholders to rebuild the city’s visitor economy.

“Whilst we have many challenges ahead, there are also opportunities that can help us come out of this crisis even stronger than before,” she said.

“The Gold Coast is Australia’s leading tourism destination and we are uniquely placed to be the number one choice for local and Australian visitors, and it is important we maximise this strength.

“Welcoming as many Australians as possible to the Gold Coast now and into the immediate future is critical.

Under her leadership, O’Callaghan said DGC will also ensure there is a sharp focus on the continued development of experiences and infrastructure investment to optimise the benefits for the city’s businesses, residents, workers, and other key stakeholders.

“I am aware of the immediate challenges and support the current plans of monitoring, reassessment and agility required to market the Gold Coast,” she said.

“I will be proud to call the Gold Coast my home and look forward to working collaboratively with our members, the City of Gold Coast, Queensland and federal governments, and our many partners to rebuild and grow our wonderful city.”

O’Callaghan will commence her duties at DGC in early February 2021.