SeaWorld CEO steps down after company posts $200M loss in 2017

By Ray Downs  |  Feb. 27, 2018 at 9:40 PM
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Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The CEO of Sea World will step down after the theme park lost more than $200 million in fiscal year 2017.

The company announced the move Tuesday, saying CEO Joel Manby "agreed that this is the right time to identify a new CEO as the Company enters its next phase of intensified focus on execution and growth."

Chief Parks Operations Officer John T. Reilly will take on the role of interim CEO.

"The Board agreed that this transition plan is the right approach to advance the Company's progress and create value for all our important stakeholders," said Sea World Lead Independent Director Donald C. Robinson. "We know John will be an excellent leader in this new role and we thank Yoshi for taking on this additional interim responsibility to ensure a smooth transition."

The transition comes after Sea World lost $202.4 million in fiscal year 2017, after a loss of $215 million in 2016.

The company also saw a drop in overall revenue, going from $1.34 billion in 2016 to $1.26 billion the following year.

Manby was appointed CEO in April 2015 to reverse the company's losses after the fallout after the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which has been blamed for causing the theme park chain's drop in attendance.

Sea World has since attempted to offer a range of new attractions, including elaborate exhibits, but the losses continued.

"You can't turn the Titanic around in 2½ years," Duncan Dickson, an associate professor at University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management, told the Orlando Sentinel.

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