Our executive team has diverse experience in operations and strategy across a number of industries. This has brought operational efficiencies of the corporate sector into the hospitality industry with outstanding results.
Recently-appointed Executive Chairman Bob East brings a wealth of hospitality experience to AVC. As CEO & Executive Director of Mantra Group, he created Mantra Group and grew it to become the second largest Australian-based hotel company. He has experience with global expansion, leading the expansion of Mantra Group into Asia. He also brings experience of development and acquisitions as well as implementing industry-leading technology at scale.
Paul Waterson led the creation of Australian Venue Co, formerly Dixon Hospitality Group, and has driven the group’s rapid growth from small Victorian pub group to one of the country’s largest and most dynamic hospitality groups. Paul was previously the Chief Operating Officer of Dixon Hospitality and brings experience from General Manager roles at Spotless and Healthscope. Paul’s experience from outside the hospitality industry has brought strong corporate management to AVC, which has been instrumental in the company’s successful rapid growth. This word is missing from the PDF Version
Craig Ellison has more than 25 years of operational and leadership experience in hospitality in Australia and the UK. Craig co-founded Open Door Pub Co and found success in operating large venues such as the Geelong Polo Club (now Auburn Hotel) and The Duke of Wellington. Craig returned to AVC in 2017 and brings his extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry combined with strong operational management to the group.
Recently appointed, Sam Lewis brings deep experience to AVC. As Vice President at A.T. Kearney, a leading global consultancy, he was instrumental in setting up and leading the Procurement and Analytics consulting practice in Melbourne, delivering large scale cost reduction and transformation based projects to a wide range of clients and industries. His 20 years of consulting allows Sam to bring significant experience from many clients and industries to AVC.
Barry Maitland brings more than 25 years of IT management experience to AVC. His experience spans health, hospitality, managed services and retail spaces, and includes IT executive roles at Hilton, Treasury Wine Estates and Healthscope. Barry has led AVC’s information and systems during a period of rapid growth and has helped the group achieve technology at scale.
Since joining AVC in 2017, Kylie has created the Australian Venue Co brand, built the group’s market-leading digital marketing strategy, launched the AVC app and led AVC to build major onsite and offsite activations including The Winter Village in Federation square. Kylie draws on extensive hospitality experience including seven years as National Marketing Manager of Publican Group. Kylie has developed the marketing and sales team to include a number of specialist roles across digital marketing, events, activations, functions and sales. Kylie’s success in attracting investment from brand partners and changing the way that the group approaches activations and technology has made the group a market leader in marketing innovation.
Rachel Checinski brings extensive commercial experience in hospitality and FMCG to AVC. Rachel joined Open Door Pub Co in 2004 and has lead the commercial and human resources teams with the group as it became Dixon Hospitality and subsequently Australian Venue Co. As GM Human Resources, Rachel has implemented new systems to increase rostering efficiencies, improve workplace health and safety and develop a best practice staff training development program, AdVanCe. Rachel oversees a department responsible for 5000 team members across Australia and New Zealand and has been instrumental in creating Australian Venue Co’s dynamic corporate culture and attracting exceptional team members.
Simon Gardner brings more than 25 years experience in the gaming and hospitality industry to AVC. Simon has indepth experience working with electronic gaming, food and beverage and government regulation and compliance, which is an essential skill set as AVC entered the JV with Coles and as gaming revenue continues to grow. He has excellent relationships with the Victorian State Government relating to liquor and gaming industries as well as key gaming suppliers and brings a wealth of knowledge of the industry to his role.
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