SeaWorld Appoints New Theme Park, Zoological Leaders

February 19, 2016, 8:26 AM · New SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby is shaking up his management team, appointing new heads for the company's theme park and zoological operations. Manby also is creating a new team charged with developing hotels for the company, tapping a former Universal Orlando executive to lead that effort.

SeaWorld SanDiego President John Reilly will take over as SeaWorld's Chief Parks Operations Officer, replacing the retiring Daniel Brown. Dr. Christopher Dold moves up from Vice President of Veterinary Services to Chief Zoological Officer, replacing Brad Andrews. The changes take effect on April 1.

Marilyn Hannes, SeaWorld's Vice President of Global Sales, will replace Reilly as the head of SeaWorld San Diego. And Busch Gardens Williamsburg President Carl Lum is moving over to lead SeaWorld San Antonio, replacing Dan Decker.

As for the hotels, SeaWorld is creating a Resort Development Group, and the head of that group will be Steve Iandolo. Iandolo worked as Vice President, Hospitality Development for Manby at Herschend Family Entertainment, and before that, worked as the creative director for the development of Universal Orlando's Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Portofino Bay Hotel. SeaWorld announced last November that it would begin developing hotels for its theme parks, signing a deal with Evans Hotel Group to explore development on its San Diego property.

Replies (10)

February 19, 2016 at 9:31 AM · Iandolo's work in developing Portofino, RPR,& HardRock resorts is impressive. Sounds like a good catch for SeaWorld.
February 19, 2016 at 10:13 AM · And this is the real reason why attendance is up at Universal and down at SeaWorld. On-site hotels are the key to keeping people on property and extending their visits from one-day to multiple-days.
February 19, 2016 at 10:39 AM · Busch Gardens Williamsburg President Carl Lum will be missed, my family loves BGW
February 19, 2016 at 11:47 AM · BGW presidents have become the backbones of Sea World Parks and Entertainment management. It will be interesting to see who takes Lum's place. BGW has so much more potential, yet has to tread very carefully to not upset its existing and very loyal customer base.
February 19, 2016 at 1:47 PM · Their park in Orlando is in serious trouble. Massive identity crisis. Instead of focusing on marine life, conservation, education - with the infinate possibilities of immersive experiences, getting close to marine life - they had instead become a woeful cheap 'six flags' type theme park.

If i want to go to Six Flags and ride non immmersive rides, that have nothing to do with marine life - i'll go to Six Flags.

Sea World with a creative CEO and some investment could still be brilliant.

February 19, 2016 at 3:37 PM · SeaWorld was all about Shamu. Fewer want to see Shamu. So this turnaround rely on a new identity and marketing message. This takes time. SeaWorld wasn't a theme park. It was a showcase for Shamu. The amusement portion was a bonus.
February 20, 2016 at 7:41 AM · SeaWorld was about marine life - not just Shamu. Utterly ridiculous to say it was just about a whale, that's like saying Disney World is solely about Mickey Mouse.
February 20, 2016 at 1:24 PM · 80.229 etc I totally agree. And what's with the parrots and the acrobats on the SWO shows? If I want to watch acrobats I'll go to Cirque du Soleil. If I want to ride a coaster I will go to Islands of Adventure. Seaworld needs to concentrate on being (a) sea world.
February 20, 2016 at 3:13 PM · "If i want to go to Six Flags and ride non immmersive rides, that have nothing to do with marine life - i'll go to Six Flags."

Not in Orlando you won't.

February 23, 2016 at 11:02 PM · Hee! Being "just" a marine park obviously isn't working for SeaWorld. Being mostly a zoo hasn't done spectacular things for Animal Kingdom and right now, that's the only park in WDW I can tolerate. The simple fact is that UO turning into a 3-day destination didn't hurt Disney as much as it hurt SeaWorld. If SeaWorld wants to be included in a "Universal" vacation, it needs to become more like Universal and less like Disney, which means less "family-friendly" and more "E-ticket-friendly".

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