An abrupt resignation at Tourism Charlottetown has forced the board responsible for promoting tourism in the capital city to start searching for a new leader.
Lee Gauthier handed in his resignation on Tuesday, only eight months after taking the helm at Tourism Charlottetown and the Prince Edward Island Convention Partnership.
Doug Newson, president of the board of directors at Tourism Charlottetown, says the board wasn't given a reason for Gauthier's resignation.
"Everything happened quite quickly today," Newson told The Guardian on Tuesday. "There was really not a lot of discussion. He just put in his resignation. We certainly wish him the best and we just have to move forward."
Gauthier's resignation is effective immediately.
John Cudmore has been hired as interim CEO. He's a former president of the board. The board will begin a search for a new CEO immediately.
Gauthier could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
His short stint with Tourism Charlottetown began Jan. 5 after spending 22 years with the Children's Wish Foundation of P.E.I.
But it's been a rocky eight months.
There has been an exodus of staff since he took over as CEO.
"Anytime you have new leadership put in place, there's bound to be some turnover," Newson explained. "As to why exactly some of the people left, we don't have all that information. We do exit interviews but some of them left fairly quickly so you can make all kinds of assumptions but our job now is to move forward."
Then the marquee event for Tourism Charlottetown, the Festival of Lights, bombed. The Canada Day weekend concert series regularly attracts up to 14,000 spectators. This year, fewer than 4,000 people attended.
Newson said Gauthier's resignation had nothing to do with Festival of Lights.
"Not from our standpoint, not at all," Newson said when asked if the Festival of Lights factored into Gauthier's decision.
Gauthier's resignation comes only weeks before Tourism Charlottetown is set to host not one but two major festivals.
The P.E.I. Shellfish Festival, which Tourism Charlottetown helps promote, is Sept. 18-20 while Fall Flavours is Sept. 25-Oct. 4.
"There is really not a good time, I guess," Newson added. "A lot of the planning is underway now for Fall Flavours, and we also manage some stuff for the Shellfish Festival so staff are certainly busy."
The following are the players involved in Tourism Charlottetown and the P.E.I. Convention Partnership.
- John Cudmore
- Kevin Murphy
- Ron Waite
- Lee Gauthier
- Michael Bird
- David MacKenzie
- Dave McGrath
- Les Parsons
- Doug Newson
SOURCE: Corporate Registry