Peter Hurley’s 24-year run as AHASA president came to an end on Tuesday, as he stepped down from the position. The stalwart of the South Australian pub industry chaired the association’s AGM the day before, in his last act as president.

Hurley, director and patriarch of the Hurley Hotel Group, has run unopposed as the association’s state president for over two decades, but decided to step down in order to make way for a new generation of hoteliers, under the guidance of AHASA CEO, Ian Horne.

“It’s been a very deliberate succession plan discussed. We’ve been fortunate to have the services of an outstanding CEO in Ian Horne. Ian is a few years younger than me and I’ve always held the view that it was important that whoever took over after me had a couple of years of clean air with Ian, and then whenever he retires, the state executive would then appoint a successor for him,” Hurley told Australian Hotelier.

In his time as AHASA president, Hurley has steered the committee who put together the SA Manco deal, allowing over 80 families to buy the freeholds of the pubs they operated off Lion Nathan. He also helped stopped government policies that would have been particularly detrimental to pubs, including intended legislation five years ago to allow supermarkets to sell wine, and more recently SABest’s gaming policy that would have wiped out gaming within SA and put many pub operators out of business.

At a luncheon held in his honour, AHA national president Scott Leach praised Hurley’s contribution to Australian pubs.

“Peter is a man defined by the ability to persuade, rather than intimidate. A man able to work all sides of politics and find common ground. Few could doubt his irreplaceable contribution to our industry over so many years.”

“Put simply, Peter’s contribution to the hotel industry in South Australia and across this nation is undisputed, and his wider contribution to tourism and his community is second to none.”

Leach continued: “More than an innovative and successful hotel operator, he has been a distinguished and skilful leader of the AHA through very turbulent times. Here in South Australia, of course, the achievements of Peter over decades are legendary.”

The South Australian pub icon was very grateful for his career at the AHASA.

“The role has opened many doors and been a wonderful honour,” Hurley reminisced.

Hurley will now focus on his own pub business, which this year is involved in several major capex projects, including a large renovation of the Marion Hotel at Mitchell, which will include an additional 50 accommodation rooms.

Hurley reflected on his career within the AHA to Australian Hotelier, and you can find that interview in the current issue of the magazine here.

A new era

With Peter Hurley’s retirement from the presidency, vice president David Basheer was elected as the association’s new president. Basheer is a third-generation publican, and is the son of former state and national president Max Basheer AM.

Leach congratulated Basheer on his election, and noted that he himself had followed a similar career path within the association.

“I too followed an industry great when I was first elected state president in NSW a decade ago. My advice would be don’t try and walk in the footsteps of a legend. Instead make your own path, and rest assured that everyone in this industry, right around Australia, is there to help you succeed – including Peter.”

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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