Monday, June 20, 2011

Cedar Fair Names New President and Future CEO

Exciting news today that Cedar Fair has finally announced the the individual that will replace Dick Kinzel when he retires at the beginning of January, 2012.  Matt Ouimet, known in our circles as a past Disneyland President, will be taking over as CEO - and will start immediately as President of the company.

Mr. Ouimet, 53, is an exciting selection for the new CEO for various reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he spent 17 years with Disney.  As if Disney on your resume isn't enough, he held executive positions in the Vacation Club, Cruise Line, and Disneyland Resort areas before leaving in 2006.  He then spent some time with a large hotel company, and most recently Corinthian Colleges.

He's also known for being the individual that turned the Disneyland Resort around, improving appearances and operations to historic levels, after the parks faltered for years under previous leaders.  He also helped the Resort execute their successful 50th anniversary celebration, showing a level of care and respect for the park that had been lacking.

So what does this announcement mean for Cedar Fair?  Possibly great things in my opinion.  I don't see his influence being overly prevalent next year, but after that I can't wait to watch as things develop.  I by no means expect to see a Disney style experience come to any of Cedar Fair's parks, but the lessons learned while with Disney are bound to rub off one way or another.  Operations, new attraction selection, pricing, marketing... the winds of change are certain to blow.

Finally, some genuinely great news for Cedar Fair!

Edit:  There's been a lot of commentary online about the naming of Matt Ouimet - one of the better ones was just published by Al Lutz of MiceAge.  Check it out at the bottom of this article.