September 24, 2007 – Palm Coast, Florida – Is Ginn in financial trouble? Has Bobby Ginn been forced out of the company? Of the questions I’m asked, these are among the most frequent. After all, Ginn is a very high profile outfit. And they haven't been saying much. I responded in a recent “Dear Toby” piece.
Question: I've heard that Bobby Ginn was forced out of Ginn Development Corp. Is this true?
Toby Says: In early July, the Ginn Company named Robert Gidel as president. Bobby remains as Chairman and CEO. Many believe that Ginn's lenders forced this action. Typically, lenders funding agreements give lenders the option to take over some degree of control when the lending agreement is breached or if certain financial or performance metrics are unmet. When I spoke with Bobby Masters, Executive Vice President and Ginn spokesperson, Ryan Julison, they stated that the lenders had nothing to do with Gidel's appointment. They also said that a press release would be forthcoming. The fact that the company has since been silent on the matter, lends credence to the belief that the lenders have stepped in and taken over some control over Ginn's operation. GoToby.com was the only one to pick up on the story. Here is a link to my July news story - (New Ginn President)
Well the silence is broken. Apparently Ginn has heard the same questions and decided to get the answers out. A very recent communication to Ginn property owners and club members, in which he announces the new president, is reproduced below. He talks also of continuing progress at each of his developing projects as well as his unsuccessful personal venture into NASCAR.
Bobby Ginn’s Communication
To our Owners and Members,
It’s impossible to pick up a newspaper these days without reading troubling reports about financial markets. In addition, credit turmoil and other changes in the residential real estate market have resulted in challenges for many in our industry.
We’ve heard from a number of you, our owners and members, wondering what such news means to Ginn property owners and members.
In spite of the headlines, at Ginn Resorts, we remain optimistic about the future. Looking well beyond the current market uncertainties, we like what we see and are excited about the future prospects of Ginn Resorts.
I am pleased to tell you that Ginn Resorts is not only weathering the current market volatility, but also moving forward. We have maintained our market position. We are meeting our development timetables in our current communities. We are continuing to grow through the acquisition of new projects, such as the BriarRose in Georgia and Old Bahama Bay on Grand Bahama Island.
Construction is moving forward in all of our communities. Our hospitality division has established record occupancy levels at Ginn Reunion Resort and Ginn Hammock Beach. We have continued solidifying our private clubs and enhanced our membership programs at Quail West, Cobblestone, Tesoro and Bella Collina. Our development plans are in full swing in the Bahamas, Burke Mountain, St. Thomas, Colorado, and Charleston, South Carolina.
We are also building and expanding our management team, to ensure that we have the talent and expertise to meet our commitments and to pursue opportunities. I am pleased to announce that Robert Gidel has joined The Ginn Companies, LLC as president. I have been looking for someone like Rob for the past few years, someone whose experience and knowledge give me the opportunity to focus on what I do best: envisioning and planning our club and resort communities and creating the greatest experiences for our members and owners.
As the residential real estate market has changed, we too at Ginn Resorts are changing the way we are selling real estate. However, regardless of market conditions, the facts remain the same: we have incredible communities, world-class amenities and the marketing power to ensure that the world knows about what Ginn Resorts has to offer.
As part of our overall strategic sales process, we are excited to announce the return of Jeff Davis as president of Ginn Real Estate Company, a position Jeff previously held from 1999-2003. Jeff left the company to develop BriarRose, a luxury country estate community near Atlanta, Georgia. With our acquisition of BriarRose, we welcome Jeff back to Ginn. He brings a wealth of sales and marketing experience and will have a tremendous impact on the overall direction, strategy and success of our real estate division.
Joining Jeff, as vice president of Ginn Real Estate Company, is Paul Bobik, another individual returning to the company. Most recently, Paul served as the senior vice president of sales at Centex Destination Properties, where he had great success managing the sales efforts across the company spectrum.
The addition of Jeff and Paul will help ensure that we take every available opportunity to market and sell our communities in the most aggressive manner possible.
As always, I am committed to making this company the best that it can be for you, our owners and members. My passion for this company and my belief in our future has never been stronger. We will continue to provide the best owner, member and guest experience imaginable at Ginn Resorts.
You may have followed my involvement in NASCAR as the owner of Ginn Racing. The race team was a personal venture on my part and was not connected to Ginn Resorts. We had a very successful start to the year, but, as those of you who follow the sport know, sponsorships are essential to a team’s long-term success. When several of our potential sponsors didn’t come through, we were forced to make difficult business decisions that resulted in major changes to the race team.
To conclude, we value the relationship we have with each of you. I would like to thank you for your confidence in Ginn Resorts. The entire Ginn management team continues to work as hard as we can to ensure the long-term success of our communities. Thanks again for allowing us to create lasting memories for you and your family.