CEO to lead super entity announced

Published on 18 August 2023

Experience Gold Coast CEO John Warn

A senior tourism executive with experience in hospitality, major events, sport, retail and the arts has been appointed the inaugural CEO of the city’s new super entity Experience Gold Coast.

John Warn, the Chief Operating Officer at hotel group Accor (Pacific) and former Chair of both Cricket NSW and Destination NSW was unanimously chosen by the board to lead this new entity charged with driving visitation growth and economic investment.

Experience Gold Coast Chair Rob Borbidge said the Board felt his experience combined with Mr Warn’s passion and drive provided the x-factor the position required.

“We asked for someone dynamic with bold ideas; someone who would challenge the Gold Coast way of thinking while being able to inspire and bring together a high-performing team,” Mr Borbidge said.

“John has extensive experience across a broad range of industry sector’s, and demonstrated to us that he is the person who can best achieve this for the Gold Coast.”

Mr Borbidge said it was a highly competitive recruitment process with an extremely high calibre of candidates, making it a difficult decision.

Mr Warn, who will take up the position in November , is a Gold Coast resident, and said he was enthused by the ambition of Experience Gold Coast.

“The creation of this organisation is full of promise and excitement and with the right vision and strategy this could be the home of the fastest growing visitor economy market in Australia,” Mr Warn said.

“I thank the board for this opportunity, and I look forward to working with the entities ,industry and our stakeholder’s. I can not wait to roll up my sleeves and get started.”

In February, Council resolved to amalgamate the functions currently delivered by HOTA, Destination Gold Coast, Major Events Gold Coast, Study Gold Coast and Placemakers.

Charged with establishing the Gold Coast as a premier destination for tourism, events, arts and education, the merger will see great collaboration and alignment with a focus on enhancing the Gold Coast’s global reputation.

It will result in about $6.8 million in direct savings annually which will be reinvested back into the entity for tourism, events, arts and education programs.

A $1.5 million community arts fund will also be established to support arts and cultural programming in the city.

Mr Borbidge thanked Chris Mills, Experience Gold Coast Transition CEO, for his work to ensure the new entity would be established in September.