Syrian billionaire’s $800m Aussie foray hit by sudden split
SYRIAN billionaire Ghassan Aboud has split with his key lieutenant in charge of an $800 million foray into Australia.
Crystalbrook Collection today announced the sudden departure of its director and chief executive officer Mark Davie "with immediate effect".
Mr Aboud, who is holidaying in Cairns with his family, is developing three five-star hotels in the tourist town, the Port Douglas marina, and owns three cattle stations and a superyacht in north Queensland.
"Basically we have agreed to part company,'' Mr Davie told The Courier-Mail.
He dismissed concerns of an acrimonious fallout with his Dubai-based boss who has emerged as one of the state's biggest tourism investors.
"Nope. It's time for me now to focus on my own interests.
"I have growing commitments in Newcastle.
"The CBC team are very capable of continuing the contributing towards tourism in Cairns."
He said his task with CBC was to establish a hotel management company and set up the first hotels.
"Riley is now operating at 92 per cent occupancy and I feel confident that both Bailey and Flynn will be equally successful when they open.
"It's been a challenge I never expected would fall on my lap but I can look back on what we have achieved in a very small timeframe with great pride."
Geoff York, the current group director, hotels, who has played a key role in the evolution of the company, will assume the position of acting CEO until further notice.
In a statement, the company said: "The executive leadership team of Crystalbrook Collection will continue progressing with the company's projects within the Australian hospitality and leisure industry.
"The company wishes to thank Mark for his contribution since the inception of the brand and wishes him the best in his future endeavours."
The Ghassan Aboud Group is a multi-business conglomerate engaged in automobiles, real estate, retail, bespoke catering, media and logistics.
It operates from its global headquarters in the United Arab Emirates with offices in Australia, Belgium, China, Jordan and Turkey.