Ardent Leisure Group, an Australian-based leisure company which owns and operates attraction sites across Australia, New Zealand and the United States, has made a surprise new appointment to the head of its theme park division.

Greg Yong will take over from John Osborne, who made the decision to step down from the role for personal reasons. Osborne will however continue to consult with Ardent on a number of projects.

Yong has been promoted from the position of chief operating officer of Ardent’s theme parks and attractions business, a role he had held since May 2019.

Dr. Gary Weiss, chair of Ardent Leisure, spoke of how Osborne has “built an outstanding leadership team and positioned the business to restore value for Ardent shareholders over the coming years.”

Weiss added how he was delighted that Yong had accepted the role of head of theme park division.

““Greg has substantial experience in the theme parks industry in Australia and overseas, and has played a critical role as a key member of the leadership team in restoring the performance of Dreamworld and SkyPoint,” he said.

The new appointment comes amid depressed trading conditions at Ardent Leisure venues. Forecasts have been made that it will take a year from March 2021 for Ardent’s cash flow from its Dreamworld theme park on Australia’s Gold Coast to recover from the pandemic and the lockdowns which forces closure of its parks and gaming sites in Australia and the US.