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

Posted | 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.

Fun's avatar

Just for some comparison here, Shapiro left Six Flags on 5/28/2010, but the 8K Filing was dated 6/4/2010.

First I'd like to say I didn't mean to sound like a Jack hater, quite the contrary. Although a bit older and a bit bigger now, Jack's never been afraid of hard work. He's the kind of Manager that rolls up his sleeves, grabs a hammer, and goes to work.
He runs a park with a heavy hand, says what he means, and generally makes decisions for you. He can make a man cower from the stare of his steel blue eyes. He'd say "Don't lie to me, and don't steal from me" a mantra that would be best to remember.
On the other hand if Jack liked you it was good times, he could be a very generous friend. Although along with that friendship came commitment and the responsibility to do as he says, when he says........

So back to the moment, my money is on the fact that Jack is NOT a quitter.

Imagine this, Jack and Dick are conversing, Dick brings up a failing venue, an idea of Jacks that is not receiving good results and ultimately costing the company X amount of dollars. Jack already past his breaking point with this mans growing arrogant egotism and unreasoning mentality, turns to Dick and and says "You cost us $2x,xxx,xxx trying to sell us out!"
Well Dick, red and visibly enraged at hearing such slander, shouts back as his twitching eye spasms "Get out you! Take your things! You no longer work for me!"

Jacks not a quitter. Dick needs to go, and give Jack the reins.

(The above is purely speculation based on factual events)

Last edited by Corporate Puppet,
mlnem4s's avatar

Corporate Puppet said:

(The above is purely speculation based on factual events)


I am loving the fact the confidentiality agreement doesn't cover former employees, their opinions, or conversations they may or may not be having with current CF employees : )

I just find it interesting that Cedar Fair, of all companies, still hasn't figured out that the ONLY real secret in the amusement industry is tonight's closing time at Kennywood. And that's because they don't know themselves until early evening!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

mlnem4s said:

Corporate Puppet said:

(The above is purely speculation based on factual events)


I am loving the fact the confidentiality agreement doesn't cover former employees, their opinions, or conversations they may or may not be having with current CF employees : )

Why would a confidentiality agreement cover corporate puppets post? He isn't revealing any trade secrets.

Carrie M.'s avatar

More importantly, there are no contracts or agreements that will protect an organization from anonymous posters on the internet, so long as they stay anonymous, anyway.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

mlnem4s's avatar

People, people, are thinking too rational. This is the Soviet Union of Kinzel we are talking about. I mean come on already, even employee emails are spied on....that's how delirious the man has become. If an employee were present in the area near the blow up between Jack and Dick in the corporate offices, and Dick knew that one person was the only one to hear it, and then the facts got on the internet, that person is headed to a hard labor camp in Siberia!

The downside to an employee is if they are posting "anonymously"...but on company time/equipment...they are at risk And, I suspect internet access is monitored pretty closely at the Point and within Cedar Fair.

I'm sure there are enough "former employees" who are close enough to Jack to have either been told first hand what happened or to have heard enough to know what really went down.

How many more experienced leaders have to leave the company before the Board of Directors puts an end to this nonsense? Who is next in line for CEO? The son? The son-in-law? Time for someone to grow a pair and put an end to this.

Carrie M.'s avatar

I try to live by the philosophy that if I have something to say, but am too afraid to support the statements by virtue of my identity, then it's best I keep my mouth shut.

After all, posting on CBuzz isn't whistle-blowing. (In fact, none of the claims that have been made in my opinion qualify as being "whistle-blowing worthy". They seem more like personality conflict issues and quite frankly ones that aren't unique to Cedar Fair.)

Some of these posts, to me, have been nothing more than gossip. And when said gossip is being offered anonymously, it loses pretty much any and all credence I may have been willing to give it.

That's just me; take it for what it's worth. As they say, YMMV.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Well, it is gossip to an extent but with a lack of any other information, gossip is about the only thing to go by. If Cedar Fair REALLY wanted to keep this hush, hush...why remove Jack's name from the Cedar Fair website without any sort of explanation?

I am just baffled with how badly companies screw up the PR these days. Look at BP...they have so many different "officials" speaking on behalf of the company...none of them with the skillset to do it effectively. Every time they open their mouths they make matters worse.

If Dick really wanted to control all aspects of this story and not expose the company to all of this speculation then they shouldn't have tinkered with the Cedar Fair website.

I'm really starting to believe that Dick may not have the capacity to run the company any longer.

Carrie M.'s avatar

Who says they are trying to keep the fact that Falfas is gone hush, hush? They haven't made a public announcement, but removing his name from the site is an indirect announcement at least.

The gossip I'm talking about isn't about the fact that he's gone. It's about why he's gone and I'm not sure why it matters beyond gossipy stimulation. Cedar Fair is never going to publicly announce the reason he's gone. If they ever do make an announcement it will be full of the standard PR stuff.

But that's not even the issue for me, really. The issue is providing gossip about the reason he's gone and then passing it off coyly as some kind of anonymous insider information.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

I think it matters SIGNIFICANTLY to shareholders and the Board of Directors. Falfas was the heir apparent...chosen by Dick himself. Dick has said that retirement is coming (though he has extended that time and again). The company has made some extremely questionable decisions as of late. Is the CEO responsible for those decisions? Was it the now dismissed COO and he gets the blame?

I don't care about gossip. But, I do care about the future of the company I own shares in and if that wasn't in some sense of doubt before all of this happened it most certainly is now. I don't think that Kinzel should address this...I think it is incumbent on him to address it.

Carrie M.'s avatar

But how would you ever get at that information in a useful way? Especially given the number of questions raised toward Kinzel's character and integrity. Even if he addresses it, would you believe what he has to say?

Let's play it out... Kinzel makes an announcement that states Falfas has been making questionable decisions lately that greatly impact the future strength of the company and therefore he was let go. Then what? The investors breathe a sigh of relief and keep on holding their shares?

Let's say Kinzel makes an announcement that says he himself is a dope and due to a conflict he had with Falfas, Falfas left the company. Then what? Kinzel is still in charge and you still hold shares. What do you do?

See, the only thing that matters in my mind is the outcomes. Everyone has all the information they need at their disposal to make sound investment decisions. They know the company is not doing poorly operationally, but isn't living to its potential. They know the company is over-leveraged in debt. They know the fate of their dividends and such. They know the length of the contracts of the leadership involved.

There's nothing else to discuss really. Everything else is just hopes and prayers for change as far as I'm concerned.

***Edited to add: The only valuable question I see still needing to be answered by Cedar Fair on the topic of Falfas leaving is who will be replacing him if anyone. Beyond that, the whys and the whispers are all hearsay that serves no one.***

And besides, the gossip I'm reading on these pages has little to do with investment worth. It seems to have everything to do with employees and/or former employees who have been frustrated with the organization they work(ed) for and the leadership therein. Well, I say, that's not only not valuable information, it's also not unique to Cedar Fair.

Last edited by Carrie M.,

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

birdhombre's avatar

Looks like the 8-K has been filed:

Well, granted...Kinzel isn't the President. But, if he has a heart attack tomorrow (not out of the realm of possibility though I wish that on no one) then who is in charge of the company? Is it the CFO?

Michael Eisner was highly criticized when he didn't have a replacement named quickly for Frank Wells after his tragic passing.

If Kinzel eliminate his #2 for something absolutely stupid then I think it does have a lot to do with the value of my investment. I'll come out and say it...I've held on to my units longer than I should have...largely because I thought Kinzel's days were numbered and I did have a sense that Falfas might be able to make some significant improvements.

Will we get the whole story? Of course not. But, how Kinzel addresses this and what the decisions they make as a result of this will be public and will give us an indication as to where things are going.

Well I know of two (or is it three) computers at CP that even if they were watched would be of no help. Im talking about the Donut Time machines Im sure an employee could in street clothes while he is off (along with a hat I guess to avoid the security cameras) go and post the gossip.

Just saying...

Jeff's avatar

I think the inability of a chief executive to work with other people is absolutely relevant to the value of stock, as it's yet another example of incompetence. There are plenty of obvious and external financial results to indicate this, but it's a huge red flag if it is in fact Kinzel rejecting what others around him are trying to do to right the ship.

It was only a few years ago that he was doing his spiel about running the business like a "mom and pop" operation. If that's his entire qualification, he needs to go, because billion dollar companies don't run like that. Sorry, "Pop."

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Carrie M.'s avatar

I guess for me, I'd rather look at hard data to determine the liklihood that Kinzel is having a hard time working with people over people's anonymous story-telling. What are the stats? How many people have left over how much time? What kind of positions? What are the patterns? That kind of thing.

But I still have to ask the question... what more could you learn about what's going on that will have a significant impact on your decisions to invest or continue investing in Cedar Fair at this point? Seems to me, you have all the information you need.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Jeff's avatar

You're such an analyst. :) I hate trying to talk about "soft skills" when it comes to any HR matter, but the truth is they do matter. It's not an issue of whether or not we have the information, but I think many frustrations come out of the fact that the board, which Dick is president of, don't have the info, or refuse to believe it's there.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Carrie M.'s avatar

Indeed I am. And a really good one I might add. :)

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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