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The Greenbrier Undergoing Large Turnover of High-ranking Executives;
General Manager Jack Damioli Leaving After 22 Years

By Scott Finn, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va., The Charleston Gazette, W.Va.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Dec. 28, 2005 - Four top executives are retiring or leaving The Greenbrier on Jan. 1, marking one of the largest turnovers of high-ranking staff in recent memory for the resort.

General Manager Jack Damioli is "leaving The Greenbrier to pursue other opportunities," said spokeswoman Lynn Swann. She did not call it a retirement and declined to explain further.

She said three other high-ranking officials are retiring after long terms of service to the White Sulphur Springs resort: Rod Stoner, vice president for food and beverage; Sharon Rowe, director of communications; and Bob Wanko, security director.

None of the departures are connected to the resort's financial fortunes, she said. In a letter to his employees last year, resort CEO Ted Kleisner said The Greenbrier was struggling to meet its booking goals and called 2003 "one of the worst years in The Greenbrier's history."

The Greenbrier is owned by railroad giant CSX Corp. The amount of gross revenue from CSX's real estate and resort operations has dropped by half recently, from $108 million in 2002 to $47 million in 2004, according to annual reports with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. That figure is before expenses, which are not broken out separately for the resort.

The resort is Greenbrier County's largest employer, with 1,800 workers during tourist season, between April and October.

Damioli is leaving the resort after 22 years of service. He was responsible for managing the nuts and bolts of the operation. Kleisner will assume Damioli's duties, Swann said.

Stoner has worked for 30 years at The Greenbrier. His replacement, Gunnard Cunningham, was hired four years ago with the idea he would eventually take over the job, Swann said.

Rowe worked for the resort 27 years. Rowe is also a member of the West Virginia Tourism Commission. No plans have been made for how to divide her duties, Swann said.

Security Director Bob Wanko also is retiring Jan 1. His position will be filled by James Rohan, she said.

The Greenbrier once was rated a five-star resort by The Mobil Travel Guide but has held a four-star ranking the last several years. It is on AAA's 2004 Five Diamond List and is one of just three lodgings that have won the award for the entire 28 years AAA has presented it. Guests who have stayed in The Greenbrier's presidential suite include President Eisenhower, the duke and duchess of Windsor and Monaco's Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. One of its greatest tourist attractions has been the once-secret bunker that was supposed to house Congress in the event of a nuclear attack. Last year, the resort closed its grounds to all but its guests. In 2000, county voters rejected a proposal to allow casino gambling at The Greenbrier. To contact staff writer Scott Finn, use e-mail or call 357-4323.

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Copyright (c) 2005, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va.

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