Af­ter SeaWorld

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Gabrielle Rus­son Staff Writer grus­son@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com

share­hold­ers ousted the com­pany’s pre­vi­ous leader, they have now elected Yoshikazu Maruyama, an ex­ec­u­tive of Zhonghong Group, to take over.

SeaWorld named its new board chair­man this week af­ter share­hold­ers ousted the pre­vi­ous leader.

The board of di­rec­tors elected Yoshikazu Maruyama to take over be­gin­ning Oct. 9, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the com­pany.

Maruyama is an ex­ec­u­tive of Zhonghong Group, which ac­quired 21 per­cent of equity in­ter­est in SeaWorld En­ter­tain­ment ear­lier this year.

“He brings over 20 years of global theme park and fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence and helped to lead the early turn­around of Univer­sal Stu­dios Ja­pan, which was re­cently ac­quired by Com­cast NBCUniver­sal,” the re­lease said.

Theme-park in­dus­try ex­pert Dennis Speigel said SeaWorld, which posted dis­ap­point­ing sec­ond-quar­ter earn­ings for share­hold­ers, is deal­ing with more than a “10-year prob­lem” to re­bound.

“A new chair­man com­ing in is go­ing to have an im­pact — you don't change chair­men un­less you’re look­ing for im­pact,” said Speigel, pres­i­dent of Ohio-based con­sult­ing firm In­ter­na­tional Theme Park Ser­vices.

In a state­ment, Maruyama high­lighted his “fresh per­spec­tive” to the board. He said he was “deeply com­mit­ted to work­ing with the man­age­ment team to de­liver mem­o­rable guest ex­pe­ri­ences, ex­tend SeaWorld's iconic brands to global au­di­ences, im­prove busi­ness per­for­mance, and en­hance value for share­hold­ers and all our im­por­tant stake­hold­ers,” in a state­ment.

Pre­vi­ous board chair­man David D’Alessan­dro, who led the board since 2010, failed to get a ma­jor­ity of votes in an un­con­tested board elec­tion in June. SeaWorld faces sev­eral chal­lenges, rang­ing from lack­lus­ter at­ten­dance to two fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“We be­lieve we’re on the right path; it will take time,” SeaWorld Parks & En­ter­tain­ment CEO Joel Manby told share­hold­ers last month.

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