Wednesday, February 6, 2019

SeaWorld Entertainment Posts New CEO As Company Plans Next Stage of Growth

SeaWorld Entertainment has finally announced a new CEO, Gustavo Antorcha, who replaces the company's Interim CEO, John T. Reilly.  Mr. Reilly has held the Interim CEO position since early last year when Joel Manby left the position.  He will now be the company's Chief Operating Officer, the second in command under Mr. Antorcha.

Gustavo Antorcha comes to SeaWorld Entertainment from Carnival Cruise Lines, where he was the Chief Operating Officer and held various positions at the company over eight years.  Before that he worked at a leisure industry consulting firm.

© SeaWorld Entertainment
While Mr. Antorcha has no direct history in the amusement industry, there are certainly similarities to theme parks and cruise ships, which both hold captive audiences that must be kept happy in a successful operation.  It will also give SeaWorld an outside perspective to their operations, and as this article from the Orlando Sentinel points out, will allow them to have a CEO that does not have any emotional ties to the way the parks have been run in the past.

SeaWorld Entertainment's real turnaround started just as Mr. Manby exited, and really flourished during 2018 while Mr. Reilly led the charge.  The company has turned to investing heavily on new rides that accompany and highlight existing wildlife educational exhibits, a plan that has already created an increase in attendance and profits for the first time in years.

I'm quite interested to see how the company will grow under Mr. Antorcha's leadership.  They've looked in the past at adding hotels to their parks as a way to grow, but neither Mr. Manby or Mr. Reilly acted on the plan, in fact an announced hotel partnership for SeaWorld San Diego was actually cancelled last year.  With the new CEO's given history, perhaps this will move back to the forefront as a path to growth.