Former SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison leaves company in board shakeup

SeaWorld Entertainment has announced the departure of former CEO Jim Atchison from the company’s board, also appointing two veteran theme park industry executives – Ron Bension and Donald Robinson – to roles at the head of the company.

Atchison, who faced difficulties stemming from the anti-SeaWorld documentary Blackfish, stepped down as CEO in January 2015, having held the position since 2009. He resigned from the company’s board on 15 April, but will still work with SeaWorld for the next three years as a consultant.

Ron Bension, president of House of Blues Entertainment at Live Nation, and former chair and CEO of MCA/Universal Studios Recreation Group, succeeds Atchison, taking up a role as a director for the company. Bension has extensive theme park experience having handled all aspects for the running of both Universal Studios in Hollywood and Orlando, in addition to developing several joint venture projects.

Donald Robinson, who is a former executive vice president of Hong Kong Disneyland, has been nominated to fill the seat left by the retiring Joe Baratta. With 30 years of experience in the industry, Robinson has extensive operations expertise across the theme park, retail, restaurant, resort and entertainment sectors.

"As we have transformed SeaWorld over the past year, the board has taken decisive action on several fronts to best serve the interests of all our shareholders and other stakeholders,” said SeaWorld chair David D'Alessandro.

“Adding these two independent theme park industry veterans to our already broadly experienced board, together with enhancements to our governance practices, is consistent with our priorities and reflects constructive input from our shareholders.”

SeaWorld has been trending positively in recent times, with its recent announcement to end orca captivity in its parks and a near 20 per cent jump in stock value, which is predicted to rise even higher as the year goes on.

Jim Atchison  Joel Manby  Ron Bension  Donald Robinson  SeaWorld  orca  Blackfish  David D'Alessandro  theme park  aquarium  Joe Baratta 
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SeaWorld Entertainment has announced the departure of former CEO Jim Atchison from the company’s board, also appointing two veteran theme park industry executives – Ron Bension and Donald Robinson – to roles at the head of the company. Atchison, who faced difficulties stemming from the anti-SeaWorld documentary Blackfish, stepped down as CEO in January 2015, having held the position since 2009. He resigned from the company’s board on 15 April,
TAW,VAT,PHR
Atchison was appointed SeaWorld CEO in 2009 and was replaced by Joel Manby last year
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