Breaking news: Sources tell CoasterBuzz that Jack Falfas has resigned as COO of Cedar Fair

Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010 6:47 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Two sources external to Cedar Fair have made credible statements to CoasterBuzz indicating that chief operating officer Jack Falfas has resigned from his position with the company. We've sent e-mail to official channels to confirm, and are waiting for a response. Again, this has not been confirmed by the company. Stay tuned...

According to the Cedar Fair Web site, Falfas has been with the company for 33 years and served as COO since 2005.

Saturday, June 12, 2010 7:36 PM

This is really hard to believe...not that I'm doubting it. If it is the case I can only imagine a falling out with Kinzel...or he's taking the bullet for him.

Wow, wow, wow.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 7:58 PM

Could he know more about the financial future of Cedar Fair than the general public knows. Perhaps he is jumping from a sinking ship.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 8:04 PM

That wouldn't be incentive to leave. He's got a lot of units to look after. My guess, purely speculation, is that he and Dick had enough of one another. Not sure which way.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 8:10 PM

Perhaps it has become apparent that with DK staying on past his planned retirement 3 years ago, Falfas--who will be almost 60 in 2 years--will not be CF's next CEO. Had DK retired at 65, Falfas would have been 54 and could have been expected to be CEO for at least a decade.

Or, perhaps DK is planning on staying on even longer. . .

Last edited by Captain Hawkeye, Saturday, June 12, 2010 8:12 PM
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Saturday, June 12, 2010 8:43 PM

I was hoping it wasn't health related...though that wouldn't necessarily be shocking. I'm not big on his leadership but for his sake and for his family I hope that isn't the case.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 8:45 PM

So if this is true, does this put Bill Spehn as the frontrunner for the COO position?

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 8:51 PM

He was present for the Coastermania keynote last weekend so he must have been better. Or he was never out sick.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 9:04 PM

Hello, my name is Mr. Six and I have a job offer for you!

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 9:08 PM

You think he is going to Six Flags? His family is rooted in Sandusky. I can't believe this was his own decision.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 9:13 PM

Maybe Dick wants to promote Bart to COO and had to clear the way! ;)

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 9:17 PM

MDOmnis said:
Maybe Dick wants to promote Bart to COO and had to clear the way! ;)

Oh there is so much room for sarcasm here..... : )

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Saturday, June 12, 2010 9:48 PM

Do I think this was Jack's decision? Yep, sure do....though I know nothing other than what is public knowledge.

Taken from an interview by Jeremy Schoolfield with Funworld Magazine:

"Kinzel hired Falfas in 1975 to run admissions at Cedar Point (he was a seasonal employee even before that), and he’s never left. When Cedar Fair acquired Knott’s Berry Farm in 1997, Falfas was named general manager; his success in that role led Kinzel to make Falfas, 55, his right-hand man and eventual successor, naming the loyal employee COO in 2005—a job Falfas describes as “herding cats and fixing problems.”

“You can be a director, a manager, but until you get the full responsibility and have to make day-to-day decisions that you have to live and die on, that’s when a person comes forward,” Kinzel says. “When Jack was recruited to go to Knott’s Berry Farm, that’s when I really saw who Jack Falfas was. I knew he was good—motivating people, being a hands-on manager, knowing maintenance and safety, and loyal. He went to Knott’s and changed the whole culture there, and his future was embedded in my life forever.”

Could Six Flags be calling Jack Falfas as their new CEO? I sure think so, but again know nothing other than what is public knowledge.

Again, from Funworld Magazine:

“Everything in our lives touches our business—our jobs are really our hobby,” Falfas says.

Mark Shapiro was the only reason Six Flags was headquartered in NYC. Anyone new as CEO obviously is going to take a look at why they are not more closely tied to a park(s). I personally don't think Jack is done in the business, and let's not forget that with Six Flags emerging from bankruptcy and starting fresh it is a major opportunity for anyone whose passion is this industry.

Last edited by mlnem4s, Saturday, June 12, 2010 9:56 PM
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Saturday, June 12, 2010 11:02 PM

It is an interesting theory. But I just have to think his age, his roots in Sandusky, his lifetime of Cedar Point/Fair, the particular point in the season...it just doesn't add up for me.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010 12:18 AM

Rock Band Live.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010 12:42 AM

There are a whole lot of rumors swirling around the chain, but it's hard to separate gossip from reality. I've heard enough times that a memo went out to staff all over today to be reasonably certain that happened, but I don't know what all it said. One person I trust did lend some credence to the serious illness thing, but it's hard to find any context on that. People closer in don't think that was a factor.

The last SEC filing related to Cedar Fair was filed Wednesday by Q Funding, amending an earlier filing to say: "On June 9, 2010, the Reporting Persons filed suit in Delaware requesting certain of the Issuer's books and records relating to the Issuer's financing. A copy of such suit is attached as an Exhibit and is incorporated herein by reference."

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Sunday, June 13, 2010 1:35 AM

This is...interesting, to say the least.

You may recall, if you have been following Cedar Fair for a while, that Falfas was recalled from his position as GM at Knott's, a position that he reportedly enjoyed very much, to become Cedar Fair COO. At that time, the position of COO was newly created. At the time, you may recall that many people, including people on this discussion forum, wondered if Cedar Fair could survive *without* Dick Kinzel (as opposed to whether it can survive with him...) and the creation of the COO position was assumed to be the company's succession plan. If this is true, then the succession plan is now very much thrown into question.

Well, folks, this may be the first stage in that shake-up that a number of people have been looking for. Kind of odd timing, though...

Oh, and if Falfas is on his way to Six Flags I won't be surprised at all. I wonder if Al Weber would want to be Cedar Fair's next CEO...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Last edited by RideMan, Sunday, June 13, 2010 1:36 AM
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Sunday, June 13, 2010 2:35 AM

Everyone should have seen this coming, he isn't called "The
Bulldog" for nothing. Kinzel is visibly losing his mind, there's no longer a way to reason with him, let alone have a normal conversation. After leading Jack on about his impending retirement, he pulls a 180' and signs on for ANOTHER term, it's just a game to him.... and Jack's had enough.
Jack doesn't like reporting to Dick, or anyone, he never has.
Jack sees himself as the one on top, and he doesn't see that happening with Cedar Fair any longer.....

P.S - Yea he's overweight and has a few health issues, but the only thing he's sick of is Dick.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010 4:06 AM

Is that speculation, Corporate Puppet (love the name, by the way!), or are you speaking from first- hand knowledge? Very interesting first post too.

I'm excited for an update as to why Falfas quit. If it is his health, I feel very sorry for him. If it was a "Dick block", than I say "good for you, Jack!" Either way, I wish him the best.


Edit - fixed transposed letters

Last edited by LostKause, Sunday, June 13, 2010 11:38 AM
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Sunday, June 13, 2010 9:47 AM

Should the rumor prove to be true....this could turn into Dick's worst nightmare. What if Jack did go to Six Flags or some other company? What usually happens in such a move?? That's right...they take their most trusted leadership/managers with them. I dare say there would be many Cedar Fair employees who would jump ship to another company if the salary, incentives, perks and treatment of employees is better than what they have to deal with under Kinzel.

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