Monday, August 17, 2015

SeaWorld Entertainment Names Two Industry Veterans into Executive Roles

Today SeaWorld Parks announced the addition of two amusement industry veterans onto the company's executive staff.  Granted employee moves may not be the most exciting aspects of this industry, but these two are worth noting for several reasons.

First, Peter J. Crage has been appointed the company's Chief Financial Officer, replacing Marc G. Swanson who held the title in the interim.  Marc will return to his role as Chief Accounting Officer.  Peter J. Crage may be a familiar name to those who follow Cedar Fair, as he has had a very long history with the company.  Mr. Crage was with Cedar Fair for many years, moving from Treasurer up to CFO over the years.  Needless to say, he knows the theme park business and will be a great asset for SeaWorld.

Next, Anthony Esparza has been named Chief Creative Officer, replacing Scott Helmstedter.  This title is basically the head of the ride and attraction design part of the company, so it directly impacts what new attractions we will see in a few years.  Mr. Helmstedter will continue on as a consultant to SeaWorld for the time being.

Mr. Esparza also has a long list of amusement industry ties, going back to serving as Vice President of Creative Development at Landmark Entertainment Group.  He was also the Sr. VP of Design and Entertainment for Paramount Parks, and most recently a Sr. VP for Guest Experiences, Design and Development for Herschend Enterprises.  That said, he has had a hand in designing countless rides and attractions that we still enjoy today around the country.

Both additions to the SeaWorld team look to be steps in the right direction, with new leader Joel Manby now in control.  Regarding the appointments, he notes that "each of these seasoned executives brings a proven track record of success and broad experience that will contribute to our ability to execute our plan and advance our progress.  Peter is a deeply talented executive with significant finance expertise and experience with public companies and in the entertainment and theme park industry.  Anthony has an outstanding reputation in our industry and beyond and he brings us exceptional creative vision that will help our team fulfill the Company's goals."