SeaWorld has announced another departure from its senior management team. Days after the departure of CEO Joel Manby, Chief Creative Officer Anthony Esparza has stepped down.
In an internal memo published as part of a regulatory filing, Interim CEO John Reilly announced that Mike Denninger would be taking over the role, saying, “My top priority is to build on our current strong momentum, attracting more people to our parks with fun and meaningful experiences. We have one of the best new product line-ups in the Company’s history, with 15 new rides, attractions, and events being introduced across the park portfolio — with all scheduled to open much earlier than last year.
“In order to continue this momentum, I’ve promoted Mike Denninger, a 28-year veteran of SeaWorld, to the newly created role of Senior Vice President of Attractions. Mike knows our company well and understands what brings audiences to our parks. He helped to create some of our most popular attractions, including Cheetah Hunt, Manta and Mako, and he is ideally suited to ensure that we continue to efficiently deliver compellingly creative attractions.
“With this change, Anthony Esparza has stepped down from his role as Chief Creative Officer. We very much appreciate Anthony’s efforts over the past 2 years. He and the team have created some highly popular new rides, events, and attractions, and we wish him all the best in the future.”
Esparza joined SeaWorld six months after Manby in September 2015, also coming in from Herschend Family Entertainment. The new executives were brought in in response to a decline in attendance and revenue following the Blackfish documentary.
With SeaWorld’s fortune’s still in decline it would appear that the company is reverting back to the old guard.