IAAPA week kicked off with some big, and unexpected, news from Six Flags. The amusement park chain has a new CEO.
Former non-executive Chairman Selim Bassoul has replaced Michael Spanos as Chief Executive Officer and President of Six Flags. Spanos served in that role for the past two years. Former Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza replaces Bassoul as non-executive Chairman of the Board for Six Flags.
"We are thrilled that Selim has agreed to help lead Six Flags into a new era of growth. His long and exceptional track record as a public company CEO, his experience, entrepreneurial spirit, and inspiring personality make Selim the perfect CEO for Six Flags at this moment in time. We are particularly excited about his proven ability to motivate teams, to delight customers, and to drive financial performance," Baldanza said. "In addition, the Board would like to thank Mike Spanos for his tireless efforts as he successfully shepherded Six Flags through an exceptionally challenging time through the COVID crisis, including the safe reopening of all our parks. As we indicated on our earnings call on October 27th, our fourth quarter attendance trends have accelerated compared to the third quarter, and we look forward to building on that momentum into 2022 and beyond."
Six Flags reported a sharp rise in attendance and income over last year's pandemic-affected results. However, attendance lagged 2019 levels, though higher guest spending help boost results. The company also saw its pass base shift from ongoing memberships to traditional season passes in the period.
Bassoul, 64, is the former President, CEO, and Chairman of Middleby Corporation, an industrial and high-end residential appliance manufacturer. He holds an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
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