Mehrmann most recently worked as CEO of Ocean Park in Hong Kong, which consistently beat rival Hong Kong Disneyland in attendance under his leadership. Before that, Mehrmann worked as Vice President of Knott's Berry Farm, so he has spent his career finding ways to compete with a certain theme park rival of Universal's.
"Tom will bring tremendous industry knowledge, business acumen and international experience to our project," Page Thompson, President and Chief Operating Officer –International, Universal Parks & Resorts, said in a statement. "He has exactly what we and our partners need to help create a world-class theme park entertainment destination."
With his success run in Hong Kong, Mehrmann has experience in finding ways to appeal to local audiences in Asia with a world-class themed attraction. In fact, with his experience running what was at the time the most popular non-Disney, non-Universal theme park in the world — not to mention the most-visited marine mammal park — I thought Mehrmann was the most logical choice to take over the SeaWorld Parks chain, which instead hired Joel Manby for that job. But Universal is a much stronger chain these days than SeaWorld, with strong corporate ownership and access to proven IP and a more successful creative team.
Universal Studios Beijing was slated to open in 2019, but the development schedule has slid back according to what I am hearing from people connected with the company, and now an opening in 2020 appears to be possible. The $3.3 billion park is going in on a 363-acre site and will include two hotels in addition to the theme park.
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