News

Don't feed your old boss: Palmer

BLINDSIDED: Clive Palmer with MP Fiona Simpson and axed Hyatt GM Maurice Holland.
BLINDSIDED: Clive Palmer with MP Fiona Simpson and axed Hyatt GM Maurice Holland. Contributed

THE driving force behind the Hyatt Regency Coolum has been sacked by Clive Palmer and staff ordered not to provide housekeeping, food or drink to their former boss, even though he lives at the resort.

An email to resort staff, obtained by the Daily, said resort general manager Maurice Holland was dismissed after he filed an affidavit at midnight on Monday on behalf of the Hyatt.

"As many of you know, Mr Holland lives in his home on site. He will have access for 14 days to his home," the email said.

"All services such as housekeeping, food and beverage etc will cease immediately.

"Professor Palmer has directed that Mr Holland not be allowed access to the resort operations and it is a directive that staff are not to grant access into these areas."

Late yesterday, the Hyatt won a short term injunction in the Supreme Court stopping Mr Palmer's company from terminating Hyatt management.

Mr Holland told the Daily he was advised by voice mail that he had been sacked and replaced by senior executive Bill Schoch.

Only moments earlier, he had assured the Daily he still had a job but would be moving into another role.

Mr Palmer axed the world-class brand, issued a $60 million law suit and terminated the services of one of the region's most respected tourism identities - all in space of 24 hours.

Tourism leaders, business people, Hyatt staff and property owners, even the Hyatt, have all been trying to work out what happened.

Mr Palmer's shock announcement came the same day he was ranting on national television about his decision to sack the manager of his Gold Coast soccer club.

Sometime on Monday afternoon, between travelling to media interviews to discuss his soccer decision, Mr Palmer arrived at the Coolum resort and dropped the bombshell.

Staff were informed the 24-year management agreement with the Hyatt would be terminated immediately.

Within hours the signs outside the five-star-resort were either being covered with black plastic bags or ripped down.

Mr Palmer made an official announcement, saying he had ended the association with Hyatt and the resort would now be known as "The Coolum Golf Resort and Spa".

Yesterday morning, Maurice Holland told the Daily he understood he was staying on.

"I'm still employed", he said.

He even encouraged the Sunshine Coast to adopt a "wait-and-see approach" before judging Mr Palmer's decision.

But minutes later Mr Palmer's spokesman told the Daily, "Maurice has been terminated, he is no longer there".

Mr Holland said he was informed by voicemail of the new agreement shortly after.

Mr Palmer then issued a statement saying he was suing Hyatt hotels for $60 million, alleging the international hotel operator syphoned "$60 million in funds from the Coolum resort over the past two decades".

Hyatt issued a statement saying it was "considering its position".

"We are extremely surprised to receive notice that the hotel's owner wishes to terminate our long-standing management agreement and strongly disagree with Mr Palmer's characterisation of our performance."

Sunshine Coast Destination CEO Steve Cooper was as stunned and blind-sided by Mr Palmer's "bizarre" decision as the rest of the Sunshine Coast's business and tourist industry.

He said there was no denying the Sunshine Coast had lost one of its premium brands worth "millions to the local economy".

"The Hyatt and Coolum have been synonymous offering a great beach and wonderful golfing experience over 24 years."

Mr Cooper believed Mr Holland was a huge asset.

"Losing him in that kind of position would be a great loss. I trust common sense prevails when it comes to Maurice."

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT

  • The 650 staff will be retained and will receive an immediate $500 bonus
  • The name will be changed from Hyatt Regency Coolum to The Coolum Golf Resort and Spa
  • The relationship between the resort and the Coolum Residences - the properties linked to the complex - will continue "business as usual"
  • Mr Palmer will invest $2 billion "developing his Queensland tourism assets" including the Coolum Golf Resort and Spa

Topics:  clive palmer hyatt regency coolum



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