Brighton i360 boss Steve Bax is to leave the business the day before a key council meeting about the seafront attraction’s financial future.
Mr Bax, 47, joined the i360 in July last year. His last day in the office – Wednesday 10 October – falls a day before the firm’s finances are scrutinised by a Brighton and Hove City Council committee.
He will be replaced in the immediate future by former London Eye boss David Sharpe. Mr Sharpe has held senior management positions at Merlin Entertainments, the company that owns the Sea Life Centre in Brighton.
Julia Barfield, who chairs the Brighton i360, said: “It is with regret that the board of Brighton i360 Ltd has accepted the resignation of Steve Bax, our executive director, who has decided to leave the company to explore other opportunities.
“His last day in the office will be Wednesday 10 October and he will be on garden leave until the end of February 2019.
“Since joining us in July 2017, Steve has helped the company support many local charities and has worked hard to forge strong links with the local community.
“He has also helped us to develop a diverse portfolio of products and events.
“To ensure a smooth transition of leadership, we are delighted to announce that David Sharpe, former managing director of the London Eye, has agreed to join us, initially on a part-time basis, until a successor is appointed.
“David has decades of experience leading business and operations at London’s top attractions and we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have secured his services.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Steve for his leadership of the i360 team and wish him all the best for the future.”
The i360’s finances are due to be discussed by councillors on Thursday next week (11 October) although a decision on whether to push through any significant changes is unlikely to be made before a crunch council meeting on Thursday 6 December.
In June, the council’s Policy, Resources and Growth Committee agreed to give the i360 until the end of the year to make a repayment of £570,000.
But the council insisted on specialist advisers being appointed to explore the options for a financial restructuring as well as a marketing specialist to try to increase takings.