Mark Condi, who served as CEO of Bankstown Sports Group in Sydney’s south-west for more than a decade of his 30-year career at the club, has been appointed as CEO of Duxton Hospitality Services, a burgeoning pub group in South Australia with 25 venues. Condi resigned from his Bankstown Sports role in 2022, and took on the role of group GM – commercial for Merivale.

After a year out of the CEO role, he felt the need to take on that kind of challenge again – and particularly with a group like Duxton which is experiencing fast growth.

“The opportunity really excited me in that it’s a company that’s growing quickly, and I certainly wanted that challenge of returning to CEO again, after 12 months of being out of that role,” Condi.

“I flourish on having a lot to do. And certainly, I felt in the interview process, that this is a company that’s really on that growth trajectory, and really needs people to be able to come in and basically run with it.”

Having spent 12 months at Merivale, Condi has a first-hand comparison of the pub and club landscapes.

“The Merivale experience was probably one of the one of the most invigorating and probably my largest learning experience I have ever had in my career. Going from club to private enterprise, it’s just different. The whole structure is different.

“While Bankstown Sports was very large, and we had six or seven venues, many pub groups including Duxton and Merivale are actually significantly bigger in terms of the multiple venues.

“Duxton’s got 25 so there are challenges there in that group think and implementing systems and procedures to ensure those venues are run as efficiently as possible. Just the multiplier effect of having those venues is an additional challenge in itself,” Condi continued.

“And there is a different market, there’s no doubt about that. So you know, with having a number of venues and, in some cases, venues reasonably close to each other, we naturally then need to look and consider how those venues position themselves in that area and that demographic, and how they differ from each other rather than being the same. So in a club, for example, we put in a lot of offerings in the one building, whereas in the pub world, it’s all in different venues.”

Having relocated to Adelaide for the new role, Condi is spending the first few weeks of his tenure on the road, visiting all of the venues within the Duxton portfolio – many of which are in regional and rural areas of South Australia. He has been meeting with the venue and group teams, who he describes as “amazing and community-oriented”.

Supporting the continued growth of the group is his immediate focus for the role.

“[The focus] is putting systems in place to making sure that we’re getting the benefit of the venues and the group, but also then, implementing systems that as we grow, we can continue to grow with it, particularly attracting talent and making sure that we retain the best people, which is our biggest focus.”

This article first appeared on Australian Hotelier.

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