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G’day Group adds two leaders to drive diversification strategy



Australia’s largest regional accommodation provider, the G’day Group, has bolstered its leadership team with the appointment of Ben Simons to the newly created Chief Strategy Officer role and Stella Thredgold as a Non-Executive Director as it looks to ramp up investment activity and pursue further diversification opportunities. 

The G’day Group, which boasts a national network of more than 300 holiday parks, has been on a rapid growth trajectory, reaching $1 billion company status in 2020 and completing more than $240 million in acquisition and development activity during the 2021-22 financial year. 

The company has also significantly diversified its portfolio in recent years with the acquisition of iconic properties such as El Questro, Lake Argyle and Undara Experience, the development of a greenfield eco-resort on Rottnest Island and the purchase of Australia’s number-one paid app, Wikicamps. 

With plans to invest a further $175 million across its network M&A and development activity during this financial year, G’day Group Chief Executive Officer Grant Wilckens said the new appointments will help support the company’s growth as it eyes off further diversification opportunities. 

“Most people only look at our business on a surface level and see the holiday parks, but the reality is we’re a massively complex multi-brand organisation” he said. 

“Not only are we the largest provider of regional accommodation in the country, but we’re one of the country’s largest property owners and developers with more than 85 parks that we own and operate. We’re also part travel agent, a leading booking platform, and an expanding digital business home to Australia’s number-one paid app, Wikicamps.” 

“With such diversity in our product portfolio and an appetite for further growth, we knew we needed to bring in some additional resources to provide strategic oversight and help us to identify further opportunities for growth and diversification that enhance our core offering as an accommodation provider and build on our digital capabilities.” 

Mr Simons brings a depth of experience in business strategy and organisational transformation with leading Australian organisations including Tabcorp and Telstra, and also spent eight years in London and Melbourne with global consultancy firm Bain and Company. Most recently, he was Chief Strategy Officer at Tabcorp where he oversaw the growth and transformation of Tabcorp into a digitally led and diversified business. 

During his time with Tabcorp, he was responsible for the delivery of an award-winning communications and staff engagement transformation program and established key relationships with three leading US sporting codes, which facilitated the launch of three sports media channels and a global-first wagering partnership with NFL. 

Ms Thredgold is a highly experienced and credentialed financial services and technology Executive at ASX-listed level who currently is CEO at Lutheran Super. She is also a Consultant at Capital Prudential, a Funds Management Company focussed on diversified commercial and residential property development across Australia. 

Prior to Capital Prudential, Ms Thredgold spent over 30 years in the banking sector with the last 10 years as a Group Executive at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank leading, Technology, Transformation and Corporate Services for the group. Ms Thredgold has particular experience in providing advice to ASX listed boards and executives in the APRA regulated banking and superannuation sector on areas including business and digital transformation and strategy, operational efficiency, cultural change and complex procurement deals. 

“In Ben, we’ve secured a highly credentialed strategy expert with more than 20 years’ experience, including stints at some of Australia’s most innovative organisations. He thrives in complexity and his expertise and commercial aptitude will be integral to our ability to continue to realise sustainable growth,” Mr Wilckens said. 

“Stella is a trailblazing leader with a really strong financial background and great understanding of people and culture, both of which are fundamental to our business. We’re also thrilled that she becomes our first director to be based here in South Australia on a full-time basis.” 

About G’day Group 

Founded by Grant Wilckens in 2004 with three properties in WA, the G’Day Group is now Australia’s largest regional accommodation provider with around 300 properties across Australia. 

G’day reached $1bn company status in 2020, and is home to three brands; Discovery Parks (owned and managed parks), G’day Parks (independently owned licensed parks) and G’day Rewards (membership program). 

G’day is majority owned by Australian Retirement Trust. Founder and CEO Grant Wilckens is also the Chair of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia and Board Director of the South Australian Tourism Commission.

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