Internal candidates in Wotif frame

Internal candidates in Wotif frame
By admin

Internal candidates are in the running to succeed departing chief executive Robbie Cooke as he spoke of his decision to step down after seven years with the company.

Cooke is returning to the gaming industry as chief executive of Tatts, having joined Wotif in 2006 from what was then UniTab, which merged with Tatts later that year.

In an unusual twist, Wotif chairman Dick McIlwain is the current Tatts chief executive who, according to reports, has long since been keen to step aside.

Attention will now focus on Cooke’s replacement. Cooke said he will be involved in the process with internal candidates “absolutely” in the running while Wotif will also look internationally.

“I don’t think it matters if it’s internal or external. It’s more about finding someone with the right skill set. But absolutely there are internal candidates,” he said.

Cooke told Travel Today he was, in some respects, “going home” to the gaming industry but said he will leave Wotif with a heavy heart.

But the challenge of running a company with a net after tax profit of $319 million compared to Wotif’s $58m was too good an opportunity to turn down, he said.

“It has been a fantastic performance by Wotif and it has been great to be part of that,” he said. “My fondest memories will be the people who have made the business what it is.”

Work remains to be done, however, with Asia a focus. The company believes the launch of mobile sites for its Asia Web Direct business will help drive business.

“I think the growth game for us is more in Asia where mobile penetration is much higher,” Cooke said back in July. “People don’t use desktops or laptop. Everything is done on mobile devices.”

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