Outgoing Tourism Australia MD, John O'Sullivan
Outgoing Tourism Australia MD, John O’Sullivan

A search is underway for the next Managing Director of Tourism Australia after John O’Sullivan announced he will step down from the role after five years leading the charge.

O’Sullivan will depart TA next month to move into his new position as CEO of Experience Co, an organisation also chaired by Tourism Australia Director, Bob East. Executive General Manager Phillipa Harrison will take over on an interim basis until a permanent replacement can be found.

“I’ve had five terrific years at Tourism Australia, leading an incredibly talented team who do such a wonderful job promoting Australia to the world,” O’Sullivan said.

“The opportunity to lead an ASX-listed company such as Experience Co. is an incredibly exciting prospect and keeps me in an industry I really did not want to leave.”

Federal Tourism Minister, Simon Birmingham, praised O’Sullivan for his work.

“John has made an immense contribution to Australia’s tourism industry over the past five years and leaves the organisation at a time when Australian tourism continues to go from strength-to-strength, with international arrivals and spending both at record levels.”

In a separate announcement, TA has promoted Susan Coghill into the role of Chief Marketing Officer, replacing Lisa Ronson, who moved on this past January to take up a senior role with Coles. Coghill has played a senior role in orchestrating recent major campaigns for the organisation including ‘Undiscover Australia’ and ‘Australia Inc’ as well as the famous Dundee commercial which aired during the Super Bowl in 2018.

“We’ve reshaped our marketing narrative. Our Tourism 2020 journey is nearly complete, with the $115 billion target set back in 2009 already achieved, and I firmly believe Tourism Australia is driving the right strategy to take the industry to new levels,” O’Sullivan concluded.