David Gray is standing down as chief executive of the Wellington's Westpac Stadium after 16 years, declaring it the country's most successful venue.
Mr Gray, who will be retiring in June, was initially hired in 1997 when the $130 million stadium was still just a concept.
''It has been an incredible journey," said Mr Gray, who was on a tenuous monthly contract for the first four years in the job, when he oversaw the planning, design and construction of the stadium, which opened in 2000.
At the time local authorities were worried that Wellington might be lumbered, as other cities had been, by big stadiums running at a loss.
But with more big events than anticipated, and with small profits rising to $2.5 to $3.5m in recent years, the stadium became New Zealand's most successful venue.
That was down to the many Wellingtonians who helped fund and support it. Mr Gray, who is now overseeing a just-started $28m multi-year upgrade of the stadium, said this would assure its future.
''I have no doubt the stadium will continue to provide enormous benefits to the region and that the current capital development plans will ensure Wellington continues to attract exciting events and provide new levels of service to future patrons."
Wellington Regional Stadium Trust chairman John Shewan said Mr Gray had been pivotal in making the stadium one of the most successful in Australasia.
The trust is advertising for a new chief executive and expects a new appointee to take up the job before the end of June.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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