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What is the highest-paid summer temp job in theme parks?

September 16, 2019, 4:53 PM · Apparently, running SeaWorld is a summer temp job these days.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. announced today that its CEO, Gustavo Antorcha, has stepped down, just over six months after taking the job. Antorcha, who previously had run Carnival Cruise Lines, cited "a difference of approach" for resigning.

Antorcha lasted less time than the executive search that hired him to replace interim CEO John T. Reilly, the longtime park executive who left the company after Antorcha got the gig. Heck, I know seasonal temp workers who have lasted long at the parks than Antorcha did.

SeaWorld promoted its Chief Financial Officer, Marc Swanson, to be the latest person to sit in the interim CEO seat. Chief Accounting Officer Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy slides over to become the interim CFO, while also holding on to her CAO job — meaning that SWE at least gets to save one FTE with this switch.

SeaWorld started to do well last year under Reilly, as it brought back the free beer at its parks that helped boost attendance under old corporate parent Anheuser-Busch. Once AB got bought by InBev and the Belgian conglomerate spun off the parks, SeaWorld began its decade of decline.

The company's direction for next year is coasters, coasters, and more coasters, as it has announced new roller coasters for its parks in San Diego, San Antonio, Tampa, Orlando, and Williamsburg, Va.

Whether this switch in leadership means that SeaWorld will continue to order up more beer festivals and thrill rides or tack to another course remains to be seen.

Replies (5)

September 17, 2019 at 5:36 AM

Today a CEO … tomorrow, front line employees

September 17, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Resignation of Chief Executive Officer and Director: On September 13, 2019, Gustavo Antorcha, Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (“SeaWorld” or the “Company”), informed the Company of
his intention to resign from such position with the Company and from any office or directorship at any affiliated entity of SeaWorld and to resign as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”). Mr. Antorcha informed the Company that his resignation was due to disagreements over the Board’s involvement
in the decision making at the Company. Mr. Antorcha will cease to serve as Chief Executive Officer effective immediately and his resignation from the Board will be effective as of the same date. The Board approved a decrease in the number of directors constituting the full Board from eight to seven, effective upon Mr. Antorcha’s resignation. Mr. Antorcha is not entitled to, and informed the Company that he is not seeking, any severance benefits in connection with his departure.

So many executives this the reason?

September 17, 2019 at 12:44 PM

I will note that there has been a pretty dramatic upheaval of park presidents and managers throughout the chain. It's not clear if those changes were because of actions by Antorcha or from the friction between him and the board.

There's a HUGE leadership void right now at SEA that hopefully will be resolved quickly as the company cannot afford to lose the momentum that it has gained over the past couple of years.

September 17, 2019 at 2:35 PM

Last week there was an "emergency meeting" and it ended with the shutting down of the 100-person call center and ship that business overseas. Employees were given a 60-day severance. Can more coasters save this business?

September 17, 2019 at 11:59 PM

I always thought it was crappy service that anytime you called any Sea World/Busch Gardens park it would go to the Orlando call center. Imagine calling Sesame Place and asking a question about an attraction or event and you get someone that's never been there and has no idea what they're talking about (granted they have a website they looked at when answering questions...but still) that's pretty much what everyone that worked at this place had to do. "Hey we have a question about the Alpengeist ride...[person looks at website to answer question].

I had always thought that was janky service and probably should be changed...but changed to having people who are at and have visited these parks answering your questions...not changed to Jamaica and Guatemala! lol. I am all for cuts when they are necessary and smart but this one is short-sighted.

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