Vail Resorts, Inc. has announced that Whistler Blackcomb Resort chief operating officer, Dave Brownlie, has decided to step down from his role. Following a career at the resort that spans nearly three decades, Brownlie made the personal decision to step down from his role and pursue other endeavors.
A 2016 recipient of Business in Vancouver’s BC CEO of the Year Award, Brownlie has been with the resort since 1989 when he joined as the resort director of finance following a brief tenure with the Vancouver accounting firm, KPMG. He has since served as the vice president of finance and corporate development, the resort’s president and was appointed chief executive officer in 2012.
“While not an easy decision because of my commitment to Whistler Blackcomb, the Whistler community, the Sea to Sky corridor and our partnership with the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations communities, after an incredibly rewarding journey, my family and I are ready to take the next step toward exploring new personal and professional opportunities,” said Brownlie. “I know I am leaving the resort in the great hands of my leadership team and Vail Resorts.”
Among Brownlie’s most significant contributions at Whistler Blackcomb – he co-led the merger of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, he was instrumental in the conceptualization and development of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, he played a key role in the world-class hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler and guided the resort’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2010 as well. Further, in February 2017, he was instrumental in securing new 60-year Master Development Agreements with the Province of British Columbia in partnership with the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations on whose traditional territories the resort operates.
“I am extremely proud of what the Whistler Blackcomb team has accomplished and, just as important, how we have moved our business forward. Community alignment, commitment to sustainability and giving back through the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation have been critical to our success.”“I have always said, if we’re not getting better at the resort, then we’re falling behind,” said Brownlie, who takes pride in the resort’s position as one of the world’s most iconic mountain resorts. “I am deeply thankful for this nearly 30-year career and the unique opportunity to be the CEO of Whistler Blackcomb as a standalone public company for more than five years. I’m confident that the next industry leader to step into this position will continue to move the resort forward to keep getting better and better.”
“We are incredibly grateful and proud of Dave’s contributions throughout his long tenure at the resort, but most especially during the integration of Whistler Blackcomb into our company over this past year,” said Pat Campbell, Vail Resorts’ mountain division president.
“His leadership during this transition has been critical to the resort’s continued success during the 2016-2017 winter season and its offering of exceptional service to our guests and experience for our employees. Dave leaves a legacy of exceptional leadership, an incredible team and dedication to the resort and the local community that will not easily be replaced nor forgotten,” said Campbell.
The company will begin a search for Brownlie’s successor immediately and he plans to stay on through mid-summer to ensure a smooth transition for the resort, employees and community.