22 April 2004, 08:31am ET
VANCOUVER, April 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – Intrawest Corporation has combined all of its travel and leisure businesses into the newly formed Leisure and Travel Group. This new group includes Intrawest’s mountain and warm-weather resorts, its golf, lodging and central reservations businesses, and Club Intrawest. This group of businesses generated $650 million in revenues in fiscal 2003.
“The formation of the Leisure and Travel Group will enable us to draw on our legacy of innovation to offer a whole new range of experiences and benefits to our customers and to build powerful global brands,” said Joe Houssian, Intrawest chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Over the years, we have built a network of resort businesses of sufficient scale and diversity to present significant opportunities in marketing, sales and operational integration. We are now poised to take full advantage of these new opportunities.”
Intrawest’s move to a less capital-intensive model in the past two years and the positive impact on free cash flow and debt levels have created a strong financial platform. Now, the newly formed group will more effectively leverage Intrawest’s assets and expertise. It will have a shared infrastructure of finance, IT and administrative services that will be more cost-efficient, and more scalable for growth. It will also allow the consolidation of customer contact and key marketing resources to facilitate more effective customer interaction and marketing across the full range of the company’s products. The new structure has been made possible by the investment over the past five years in company-wide enterprise systems, customer information systems and reservations capabilities.
Veteran Intrawest executives Dan Jarvis and Hugh Smythe will lead the Leisure and Travel Group. Jarvis, formerly the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will now serve as president and chief executive officer of the Leisure and Travel Group and Smythe, formerly president, Resort Operations Group, will serve as president and chief operating officer of the Leisure and Travel Group.
The Smythe/Jarvis management collaboration brings together two highly talented executives with complementary strengths: Smythe’s vast operational experience, visionary instinct and intense passion for the elements that make the Intrawest experience unique; Jarvis’ strong financial background, strategic vision and focus on building the business.
“The new executive team that we have assembled to lead this division brings together a remarkably talented and experienced group of executives with expertise in all aspects of resort operations as well as the supporting functions of marketing, sales, finance and system development,” said Jarvis.
With this new structure the entire company now comprises two divisions, the Leisure and Travel Group and the Resort Development Group, which carries out the real estate development business. Both of these divisions report to Joe Houssian, Intrawest chairman, president and chief executive officer. Gary Raymond will continue to serve as chief executive officer, Resort Development Group. Joe Houssian, Dan Jarvis, Hugh Smythe and Gary Raymond together will form the senior executive management committee of Intrawest.
John Currie, who has been with Intrawest in a senior financial role for 15 years, takes on the position of acting chief financial officer, pending Board review of the position. Currie will be responsible for the corporate-level finance functions which include financing, taxation, accounting and reporting, treasury, budgeting, insurance and internal audit. Currie will also assume the day-to-day investor relations functions and in this role will work closely with Houssian and Jarvis in presenting the company to investors.
Dan Jarvis, president and chief executive officer, Leisure and Travel Group
Dan Jarvis grew up in Toronto, Ontario. He graduated from Queens University and received an MBA from Harvard University. He returned to Canada in 1975 to work for Wood Gundy and then moved to Bell Canada to head up the task force that created BCE. He held a number of senior financial positions within the BCE group, including treasurer of BCE Inc., before joining Intrawest in 1989.
Jarvis lead the company into the public markets in 1990 and has played a key leadership role as the company has grown from a single resort with less than $150 million in assets to a major resort company with $2.4 billion in assets. Jarvis has been involved in all aspects of the company’s business and has played a leading role in developing and communicating the company’s strategy. Most recently Jarvis has directed the company’s move to a less capital-intensive model which was accelerated dramatically in the past year with the formation of the Leisura partnerships.
Jarvis is a director of Intrawest Corporation and its major subsidiaries, a member of the Board of B.C. Pavilion Corporation as well as the Board of the Canadian Tourism Commission. He has also served on several educational and community boards. Jarvis and his family live in Vancouver.
Hugh Smythe, president and chief operating officer, Leisure and Travel Group
Hugh Smythe grew up in British Columbia, and started his career in the ski industry as a professional ski patroller on Whistler Mountain in 1966. He advanced through various positions to hill manager, and left Whistler in 1975 to resurrect Fortress Mountain, a defunct ski area outside Calgary, Alberta.
His success there as general manager led him in 1978 to convince the Aspen Skiing Company and the Federal Business Development Bank to pursue proposal calls for development of Blackcomb Mountain. As president of Blackcomb he directed the project through inception, planning and construction to its opening in December 1980, and its ongoing growth. In 1986 he attracted Intrawest’s attention to Blackcomb, resulting in their acquisition of the resort and, under Smythe’s direction, the major expansion the following year that positioned Blackcomb as Canada’s premier ski resort.
Smythe has been responsible for the strategic planning and operation for all Intrawest resorts. He has played a key leadership role in the growth of the company from a single resort with revenues of $6 million in 1986 to its position as the world’s leading operator and developer of village-centered resorts, with in excess of $500 million in operating revenues generated by its diversified collection of award winning resorts. Throughout this growth, Smythe has been extensively involved in the evaluation of opportunities for the acquisition or development by Intrawest of additional resorts.
Smythe was the recipient of the Henry Singer Award in 1995, for exceptional leadership in retailing and services in Canada. Also in 1995 he received the Jim Marshall Award, in recognition of his inspiring contribution to the ski industry. He was honoured in 2000 with the British Columbia Tourism Industry Leader Award. Smythe and his family live in Whistler.
Intrawest Corporation is the world’s leading developer and operator of village-centered resorts. The company owns or controls 10 mountain resorts, including Whistler Blackcomb, North America’s most popular mountain resort. Intrawest also owns Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida and has a premier vacation ownership business, Club Intrawest. The Company is developing additional resort villages at six resorts in North America and Europe. The Company has a 45 percent interest in Alpine Helicopters Ltd., owner of Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia and is located on the World Wide Web at www.intrawest.com .