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First female CEO appointed at SeaLink Marine & Tourism

Monday 10 July 2023

Travel and tourism industry leader Donna Gauci has stepped into the new role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SeaLink’s Marine & Tourism division, part of the Kelsian Group (ASX:KLS).

Having started at SeaLink as General Manager New Zealand, Ms Gauci moved across the ditch in 2011 to head up SeaLink’s South Australian operations.

For the last four years, Ms Gauci has been SeaLink Marine & Tourism’s Chief Operating Officer, leading all facets of the business including overseeing SeaLink’s investment in several new vessel builds, rebounding from the devastating Kangaroo Island bushfires, navigating the global pandemic and recovery and most recently overseeing the impacts of the Murray River floods.

“Over the last four years, I have seen the true determination and resilience of our team, our industry and the communities we support.

“It is a privilege to lead the SeaLink Marine & Tourism business into the next phase of growth and I look forward to working with our amazing team to continue improving and creating brilliant experiences for customers,” she said.

Over the last 18 years Ms Gauci has been an integral part of SeaLink’s growth from operating just one ferry to Kangaroo Island, to becoming Australia’s largest marine and tourism operator.

“Whilst we are Australia’s largest marine transport and tourism operator, we take great pride in our deep connection to the local communities we serve, which forms the essence of our business’’ she said.

Headquartered in Adelaide, SeaLink now operates over 100 vessels all around Australia, connecting people with wonderful islands and brilliant experiences that makes Australia an iconic tourism destination.

SeaLink Marine & Tourism consists of SeaLink ferry operations all around Australia, Captain Cook Cruises in Sydney and Perth, Kingfisher Bay Resort and K’gari Beach Resort on K’gari (formerly Fraser Island), Sydney Harbour’s newest superyacht event venue – The Jackson, the Murray Princess, and many more well-known tourism brands.

In 2020, the then SeaLink Travel Group Limited acquired Australia’s largest public bus transport group, Transit Systems Group, including Tower Transit with operations in Singapore and the United Kingdom. The acquisition diversified the Group beyond marine and tourism into more modes of transport, which saw SeaLink more than double in size. In 2021, SeaLink Travel Group Limited changed its publicly listed company name to Kelsian Group Limited, an anagram of SeaLink, acknowledging the history as well as the diversification into bus transport and major public transport.

Kelsian Group CEO and Managing Director, Clint Feuerherdt said with the recent addition of All Aboard America!, Kelsian is approximately 30% larger again, following the transformational acquisition of Transit Systems in 2020.

“I am very pleased that Donna Gauci has accepted the newly created role of CEO for the SeaLink Marine & Tourism division.

“With the global growth of the Kelsian Group it was important that we allow greater decision-making authority to reside within the individual businesses to create the required oversight bandwidth at the Group level, whilst also allowing each business unit to hold on to their key success factors.

“With Donna’s extensive knowledge and experience within the business, she was the clear choice to lead the strategic direction and continued growth of SeaLink into the future,” he said.

Ms Gauci said, “I would like to thank Clint and the Kelsian Board for their support and trust in me to lead this wonderful business into our next phase.”