Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Limited (RAL), operators of Whakapapa & Tūroa Ski Areas on Mt Ruapehu, have announced that Jono Dean has been appointed as the new CEO of the company.

“Jono has been with the company since June 2018 as the general manager for Whakapapa Ski area, so he knows the business well,” said RAL Chair, Murray Gribben. “This appointment recognises our need for a CEO who understands our business and our partners from all over the local community who make this mountain such a special place."

Jono joined RAL 14 months ago following a career with Accor Hotels spanning 12 years, most recently as general manager for Accor's flagship brands in Christchurch. Prior to joining RAL, Jono had a career spanning tourism, hotel, and golf course management.

“The key focus for RAL for the immediate future will be on growing the range of recreational experiences we can offer our customers, particularly in the summer season," said Gribben.

“Jono was instrumental in managing the introduction of the Sky Waka gondola at Whakapapa, which is opening up the mountain to a wider range of users. RAL now has ambitious plans to improve the facilities at Tūroa, including potentially building a gondola there to complement the enhancements at Whakapapa."

Jono has a degree in Tourism Management from Victoria University of Wellington, during which time he spent all available recreational time skiing both Tūroa and Whakapapa and was a member of the Vic Ski and Board Club at Whakapapa.

“While the winter weather has been challenging this year, the redevelopment of our facilities will help RAL to build our tourism offering. Jono takes up his new role on 8 October and will ensure RAL’s sustainability by continuing to improve the visitor experience for our skiers and delivering a unique Ruapehu summer offering,” Gribben concluded.