SeaWorld Entertainment has appointed Gustavo (Gus) Antorcha as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors, effective February 18, 2019.
John T. Reilly, who has acted as Interim CEO during the CEO search process, has been appointed Chief Operating Officer.
Yoshikazu Maruyama, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Gus to the SeaWorld team. Gus is a proven leader with broad experiences in the travel and leisure industries. His unique combination of strategy, operations and leadership skills make him the right person to lead SeaWorld through its next phase of growth. Gus helped deliver strong financial results and improved guest satisfaction at Carnival by leading efforts to optimize pricing, improve onboard marketing and communications, introduce new guest experiences and drive capital and cost efficiencies – all core to SeaWorld’s current strategy.”
Mr. Antorcha joins SeaWorld from Carnival Cruise Lines, where he was the Chief Operating Officer for over eight years. Prior to that, he was a Partner and Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Mr. Antorcha said: “I am excited to join the SeaWorld team. SeaWorld has an irreplaceable portfolio of incredibly valuable assets and brands and provides guests with highly differentiated and inspiring experiences. The organization has an outstanding group of dedicated employees who, together, have a clear focus on improving execution, enhancing the guest experience and growing revenue, profitability and free cash flow. I look forward to working with this talented group to enhance and accelerate these efforts and to help realize the full potential of this business for all stakeholders.
“Commitment to animal welfare”
“In addition, I am deeply impressed by the Company’s commitment to animal welfare, conservation, rescue and education, and I am proud to be working with the more than 1,000 veterinarians, zoologists and other animal care specialists who devote their lives every day to animal care at SeaWorld.”
In response to a changing public sentiment in the US, SeaWorld has shifted away from Orca breeding and theatrical shows. Instead, it is highlighting its role as a global leader in animal rescue, rehabilitation, release and research. Existing show pools and viewing areas have been redesigned into more naturalistic settings.
SeaWorld’s recovery has been ongoing with positive Q1 results and positive H1 results – including the announcement of investment into new attractions. Recovery has partly been fuelled by high profile marketing campaigns, including “From Park to Planet” and Bier Fest at Busch Gardens.