GoBreck president John McMahon says departure not linked to organization restructure
In the midst of an organizational overhaul, GoBreck president and CEO John McMahon announced he is leaving his position after five years in charge of the destination marketing organization, previously known as the Breckenridge Resort Chamber. He will begin Jan. 2, 2014, as the executive director for the National Ski Patrol in Lakewood.
“It’s strange timing, I know that,” he said. “We’re about to finish up with the restructure. But the two don’t have anything to do with each other.”
According to ski patrol communications director Candace Horgan, the previous director left this spring. A nationwide search for a replacement began in late July, she said, and the initial search lasted one month. The organization accepted resumes and screened 40 candidates, then conducted phone interviews with the top 10. The applicants were then narrowed to three finalists. Those finalists were interviewed in early November, and the final decision to select McMahon was made last week.
McMahon initially presented the BRC restructure to the town council Oct. 8, and the organization voted Nov. 7 to move forward with the plan, which included having all current board members resign. McMahon said there are no requirements in the new bylaws that forced him to resign.
“I was recruited in the middle of all of this and wasn’t sure what direction it was going,” he said. “Nobody was pushed out, and I have no doubts about the future. The restructure of the board is just about governance. It will be a lot easier for future leadership.”
McMahon, raised in Snowmass and Aspen, previously worked for Ralston Resorts, Vail Resorts and was the project lead on a benchmark study about the growing snow sports industry at the turn of the millennium.
“It’s good to leave a legacy while at the top of the game,” he said. “Change goes over better when everything is working well.”
During his tenure, McMahon also helped pass a ballot measure for a lodging tax, and raising the market share for the Breckenridge brand.
“The next person coming in might find it a lot easier to be focused on the business itself,” he said. “There could be a different skill set — mine is taking things and giving them new vision and enhancement. There’s an efficient way of working, of keeping up the high level … we’re at now, to look for with whoever comes in.”
McMahon said there will be no interim president, but rather a search for a replacement will most likely begin after the new board is in place. He plans to remain in an advisory role as needed.
“As CEO, John was a visionary and unparalleled asset to the town of Breckenridge’s tourism effort, elevating the organization to a new level of excellence,” said Andru Zeiset, chairman of GoBreck’s board of directors, in a prepared statement. “We are now on track to outpace our industry goals and ensure the success of all Breckenridge stakeholders.”
McMahon said his decision to leave, and the restructure, had nothing to do with his dedicated staff.
“Now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I have a talented staff and if they follow the transition plan in place, get through the restructure — it’s a lot of change all at once, but the staff is very solid and they’ve always been empowered to make good leadership decisions.”
The new GoBreck board of directors will most likely be chosen in February, McMahon said. He will also help in the search for his successor, he said.
“Breckenridge has been so very good to me, very supportive, and open to the changes we’ve been making,” McMahon said. “It’s been such a fun place to work, with so much potential.”
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