IMG kicked out of Surfers
GREG Hooton's head has finally rolled, almost four months after he presided over the shambolic 2009 SuperGP.
Mr. Hooton was once the go-to man for everything SuperGP -- there was no one higher -- but yesterday he was among a dozen staff packing up the event office in Southport.
The State Government yesterday announced it had severed its ties with event underwriter and Mr. Hooton's employer, IMG, dissolving the partnership company Gold Coast Motor Events Company.
Staff were yesterday told to pack up their belongings.
Mr. Hooton said he planned to stay on the Gold Coast and work on other projects but his future with IMG was uncertain.
"Things move on, things happen and I'll move on," said Mr. Hooton when asked if he'd spent the past four months working out how he could have done things differently.
"I have no authority to speak for Gold Coast Motor Events Company or IMG any more though."
After years at the helm he was no longer privy to the inside details of the Gold Coast's premier motorsports festival but said the new model looked good.
"I think it's great for the Gold Coast -- they've got a race and are moving forward," he said.
"I haven't seen the full plan (for the new race) but it is great the decision has been made."
The 14-year partnership with IMG was dissolved on Wednesday night after heated negotiations.
With four more years still to go on the contract, which included the payment of $11.6 million a year for IMG to run the event, the Government was forced to pay out $2.5 million in a commercial settlement.
The Government also saved itself from having to chase after the $1.8 million fee controversially paid to A1GP by assigning the liability to IMG as part of the settlement.
In return, the Government keeps assets such as fences, concrete barriers and other material needed to run the event, valued at up to $10 million.
Premier Anna Bligh said although the partnership with IMG had served the event well since 1995, when things went wrong it was unable to provide the Government with the ability to directly influence what was happening.
"Taxpayers gain the assets and importantly the taxpayers and Government are no longer bound by a contract that would have seen them having to pay $11.6 million every year to IMG," she said.