Two more executives quit Disney park

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 April, 2006, 12:00am

Two senior marketing executives have quit Hong Kong Disneyland in a move travel industry insiders are linking to the Lunar New Year ticketing debacle, low staff morale and poor management.

Roy Tan Hardy, senior vice-president of marketing, and Jennifer Chua, director of strategic marketing, both tendered their resignations on Thursday and left their posts immediately.

Director of sales Mabel Chau, who worked under Mr Hardy, also left late last month.

Their departures come just three months after Don Robinson quit as the theme park's managing director.

A spokeswoman for the theme park said replacements were being sought for the trio.

Administrative staff said five Americans from Walt Disney Parks & Resorts' recently established global marketing organisation arrived on the day Mr Hardy and Ms Chua left. Early last month, Josh D'Amaro was also brought in as vice-president of sales and travel trade marketing from the Walt Disney Company in California.

'The Americans make all the key decisions and often the wrong ones. Finance is also king here, and when things go wrong, they look for local scapegoats,' said one employee. 'The mood and morale is very low here. I know a lot of us are actively looking for jobs and are totally disillusioned.'

Local travel trade sources blamed the departures on the Lunar New Year public relations disaster, when a new date-specific ticketing system caught many mainland visitors off guard and left angry crowds stranded outside the sold-out theme park.

Disney had followed Hong Kong's calendar for public holidays. This meant that entry on the first three days of the Lunar New Year were designated for date-specific ticket-holders, even though mainlanders were on holiday for the whole week.

Industry sources stressed they had warned Mr Hardy to use date-specific ticketing for the entire Lunar New Year week, and that no one was to blame for the debacle but Disneyland.

'No one knows what's going on internally but, with so many senior staff leaving Hong Kong Disneyland less than a year after it opened, people are going to have a dim view of it all,' legislator Fred Li Wah-ming said.