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Topic: SeaWorld Lands New CEO from Carnival Cruises

  1. #1
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    Default SeaWorld Lands New CEO from Carnival Cruises

    Interesting story from the Sentinel today. SW has just named former Carnival Cruises executive Gus Antorcho as their new CEO, after a period under an interim boss. Here's the story:

    Feb 6, Orlando.-
    SeaWorld Entertainment is hiring an outsider to run the Orlando-based company, which operates 12 theme parks across the country.

    Gustavo “Gus” Antorcha, previously chief operating officer of Carnival Cruise Lines, will serve as SeaWorld’s new CEO, the company announced Tuesday.

    SeaWorld had been without a permanent leader for nearly a year.

    "Gus is a proven leader with broad experiences in the travel and leisure industries,” said Yoshikazu Maruyama, chairman of the SeaWorld board of directors, in a news release. “His unique combination of strategy, operations and leadership skills make him the right person to lead SeaWorld through its next phase of growth.”

    Antorcha, who will also join the company’s board of directors, graduated from Duke University and earned an MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business, according to the news release. "I am excited to join the SeaWorld team,” he said in a statement.

    Antorcha takes the helm as the company rebounds after several years of declining attendance and finances, as it fell further behind Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

    That dip was due in part by a fierce public backlash generated by the documentary “Blackfish,” which was critical of whales held in captivity by the theme park.

    But the company has rebounded and showed steady improvements in 2018 both financially and in attendance. It is scheduled to release its next earnings Feb. 28.

    The selection of a former executive of Carnival Cruise Lines didn’t surprise industry analyst Bob Boyd. “He has dealt with a lot of brand issues in some ways similar to those of SeaWorld,” he said. “He should have good experience to fall back on. Having someone who has been through that experience and lived to tell about it should be a benefit to SeaWorld.”

    Boyd doesn’t expect Antorcha to make wholesale changes immediately, noting that the company is generally on an upward trajectory. “There are only so many changes he can make before the summer anyway,” he said.

    SeaWorld is adding new rides and attractions at its parks, including Sesame Street land this spring in Orlando.

    SeaWorld Entertainment was still ranked the ninth largest theme park operator in the world with about 20.8 million visitors in 2017, according to a report released in May by Themed Entertainment Association and the global management firm AECOM.

    SeaWorld’s largest competitors in Orlando — Walt Disney Co. and Universal — were ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the report.

    John Reilly, interim CEO since February 2018, will remain with the company as chief operating officer, Tuesday’s news release also said.

    "We thank John for his significant contributions. He is an outstanding leader and we look forward to him working with Gus to drive operational excellence across the company,” Maruyama said.

  2. #2
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    Good to see more positive news for SW.
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