Yarra Ranges Tourism Announces CEO Appointment
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Yarra Ranges Tourism Announces CEO Appointment

The Chair of Yarra Ranges Tourism, Mark Lucas has announced the appointment of Simon O’Callaghan as its new Chief Executive Officer.


The Yarra Ranges Tourism Board decided that now was the right time for a full-time CEO and undertook an extensive recruitment search.


“Simon was chosen following a competitive selection process from a strong field of candidates. His experience in tourism, marketing, digital and governance activities, his energy and collaborative leadership style along with his commitment to and support for the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges over many years all contributed to his appointment” Mr. Lucas said.

“Simon is an exceptional leader with extensive experience. His track record of delivering community outcomes and economic development in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges over the past 13 years has been first rate.”


Simon has been a member of the Yarra Ranges Tourism executive team and Chief Operating Officer since 2013.


Outgoing CEO Julie Sampson said “Simon is a brilliant colleague, I am personally delighted to be handing over the reins to such a hardworking and talented leader.”


Mark thanked Julie for the tireless work she has provided to the region during her time at Yarra Ranges Tourism. Julie will still be in involved with the organisation on a project basis into the future, which is fantastic for the region, given her passion and tourism marketing experience.


Julie has led the organisation in a part time capacity for the past three and half years and has successfully worked with the Board and industry to raise the profile of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. Julie’s local knowledge and the depth of industry experience has been pivotal in the recent successes achieved by the team at Yarra Ranges Tourism.


Commenting on his appointment, Simon said, “I am honoured and excited to have been selected to lead Yarra Ranges Tourism in its efforts to grow the visitor economy of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.

“We have a great region with dedicated and passionate tourism operators. The organisation has a positive strategy that has yielded terrific results over recent times. It is important that this success continues and we further develop this by working together to build a dominant force in tourism within Victoria. Having always loved a challenge and hard work, I am extremely confident this will continue with the dedicated team we have in place.

“I am determined to maintain the momentum created at Yarra Ranges Tourism that builds on the unique experiences and quality visitor offerings which resonate with the market, but we must continue to be innovative and evolve” said Simon.


Mark Lucas
Yarra Ranges Tourism

About Simon

Starting his career in small business, Simon is an experienced leader with over 20 years in Government, Private and not-for-profit sectors. His formal qualifications include a Master of Business and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Simon is a long-term resident of the region with his wife and two sons.