Universal Parks & Resorts has announced major changes to its management team, as Mark Woodbury moves up to head NBCUniversal's theme park unit.
First, long-time Universal Orlando President Bill Davis will be retiring. Davis has led Universal's flagship resort for the past 15 years, overseeing major additions including both The Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands, the Volcano Bay water theme park and the opening of several hotels.
"Bill is a legend in our industry and here at Universal," retiring Universal Parks & Resorts Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Williams said. "His passion for our business, for our team members and for excellence have inspired all of us. Orlando team members know Bill has been a constant presence in our parks – and I will always remember my frequent walks through the parks with Bill as we reviewed our business and, more importantly, built our friendship."
Replacing Davis in Orlando will be current Universal Studios Hollywood President Karen Irwin. Irwin returns to Orlando following five years in California. Scott Strobl, currently Senior Vice President of Operations at Universal Studios Hollywood will take on the new role of Executive Vice President and General Manager of Universal Studios Hollywood.
Strobl will be reporting to Tom Mehrmann, the current President of Universal Beijing Resort, who is moving up to a newly created role as President, Pacific Rim, Universal Parks & Resorts. As such, he will oversee Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan, and Universal Beijing Resort. (If you are curious as to why Universal Studios Singapore is not included, that park is not owned by NBCUniversal but is operated under license by Resorts World Sentosa.)
In China, Joe Hoskin will report to Mehrmann as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Universal Beijing Resort. J.L. Bonnier continues as President of Universal Studios Japan.
Page Thompson, currently President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Parks & Resorts – International, will take on a new role as President, UPR New Ventures, working "to identify new opportunities for Universal to expand the concept of theme park entertainment and bring the brand to life for new audiences," according to Universal's announcement.
Alice Norsworthy, currently Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Universal Parks & Resorts, will become President of Global Marketing, Universal Parks & Resorts. And as previously announced, Michael Hightower will replace Woodbury as President of Universal Creative, effective January 1.
Irwin, Mehrmann, Thompson, Norsworthy, and Hightower will be direct reports to Woodbury.
"I am grateful to have worked with so many of these talented leaders through the years – and I am excited to work with them as we move into the future," Woodbury said. "Our industry is strong, our company is strong and I have confidence in what we will do together."
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