Crystalbrook Collection chief executive Mark Davie has exited the company in a shock departure this morning.
The long-time friend of Ghassan Aboud spoke exclusively to Tropic Now, saying his time with the hotel group was "a great experience I'm very proud to have been a part of".
Mr Davie said he looked forward to spending time with his family in Newcastle following this morning's exit from the company, which was only announced to staff in Sydney earlier today.
Geoff York, the current Group Director, Hotels, will assume the position of acting CEO until further notice.
Mr Davie told Tropic Now the launch of Crystalbrook Collection in Australia was an opportunity he never expected.
"I'm extremely proud of what we've built in such a short period of time and I know the team we've built both at a management level and operational level will continue the amazing work we started two and a half years ago," he said.
"I know Crystalbrook Collection will make an enormous change to Cairns and I look forward to seeing the tourism industry grow in the city, which I know it will.
"My task was to establish a hotel management company and set up the first hotels. Riley is now operating at 92% occupancy and I feel confident that both Bailey and Flynn will be equally successful when they open."