Cedar Fair makes promotions with new titles

Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 12:01 PM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an unedited, but partial, press release. -J]

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today announced a series of promotions reflective of these individuals’ contributions to the Company, as well as its commitment to maintaining a strong and dynamic management team across its organization.

“Today’s promotions are the result of these individuals’ ability to think strategically, the respect they have earned from their colleagues and peers, and their significant contributions to the Company during their tenure here,” said Dick Kinzel, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We are fortunate to have such talented, dedicated and ethical individuals helping to lead our organization.”

The following executives now hold these titles and responsibilities:

Peter J. Crage, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Previously corporate vice president and chief financial officer, Crage will continue to oversee all financial areas at Cedar Fair, and will now have the corporate vice president of administration reporting directly to him (this position previously reported to the chief executive officer). Crage rejoined the Company in 2004, assuming the title of vice president and corporate controller after having served as vice president of finance at Delaware North Companies in the Parks and Resorts Division. Prior to that, Crage served as corporate treasurer of Cedar Fair from 1999 to 2002. He is a certified public accountant.

H. Philip Bender, Executive Vice President. Bender has served as regional vice president since June 2006. Prior to that, he served as vice president and general manager of Worlds of Fun / Oceans of Fun since the end of 2000. He has served in numerous roles with Cedar Fair for more than 30 years, including time at the Company’s Cedar Point and Valleyfair amusement parks. Phil has 39 years of experience within the amusement park industry.

Richard A. Zimmerman, Executive Vice President. Zimmerman has served as regional vice president since June 2007. Prior to that, he served as vice president and general manager of Kings Dominion since 1998. He has more than 20 years of experience in the amusement park industry. Prior to entering the amusement park industry, Richard served in various roles with Paramount Communications, Inc., including vice president of financial planning and analysis for Paramount’s Madison Square Garden Division and was a member of Paramount’s merger and acquisition team.

David R. Hoffman, Vice President of Finance and Corporate Tax. Hoffman, formerly Vice President of Corporate Tax, will assume expanded responsibilities within the corporate finance department. Prior to joining Cedar Fair in 2006, he served as a tax consultant with Ernst & Young. He is a certified public accountant.

“Attracting, retaining and grooming a deep and talented management team to lead Cedar Fair in its pursuit of long-term growth and value creation has been – and will continue to be – a strategic imperative for the Company,” said Kinzel. “Today’s action is another step in our ongoing succession planning process. With this new structure, I will now have more time to focus on growing the business and the continued development of our executives. In the meantime, the Board of Directors will continue to work on our upcoming CEO transition through its subcommittee of independent directors that has been assigned to this task, given that my employment agreement expires on January 2, 2012. As is the case with any public company, this is a confidential process that is expected to include both internal and external candidates. Out of fairness to all involved, we will have no further comment until we are ready to announce a new CEO.”

Read the entire press release from Cedar Fair.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 12:11 PM
Jeff's avatar

Tekwardo said:
Um, the ads didn't bother me in the park(s) I grew up going to. It doesn't bother me at all. Anywhere.

Super. I don't recall anyone suggesting they knew better than you how you felt.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010 2:02 PM

It will be very interesting to see Cedar Fair's executive team structure going forward. I would be shocked if the Board decides to hire a new CEO from the outside, although I think that would be the best for Cedar Fair. My prediction is that Pete Crage will become the new CEO, and move Dave Hoffman up to CFO. Bender and Zimmerman would then have full responsibility for ALL operations while Crage really focuses on the "administration/planning" side of the business. I just really don't see CF hiring from the outside or promoting Bender or Zimmerman to CEO. It would be interesting to see Zimmerman as CEO of the company that fired all of his former GM colleagues at Paramount. I never quite understood what made Kinzel keep him but fire the other 4. I would also look for Kinzel to remain as both Chairman and CEO for the duration of this next year and Raynor to appoint a strong, seasoned, perhaps retired business executive as the new Chairman. Probably one that could devote all his energies to CF, be an active Chairman and really groom and develop Crage, Bender and Zimmerman.

Again, all just guessing... In about a year from now when they do announce the new CEO, I could be totally off base. But, based on the press release, I think this is how it is going to work out. (Why even mention Hoffman's name if he isn't going to be a major player in the future i.e. CFO).

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Thursday, November 4, 2010 12:38 PM

I wonder if any of these pour souls actually got a raise to go along with their fancy new titles. Seems like CF likes to give new titles and responsibilities, but not necessarily increase salary.

As for Peter Crage, I've read a few things saying he was brought in as a 'yes man' for Kinzel after Bruce Jackson wouldn't sign off on the Paramount acquisition like Dick wanted him to. No idea whether that's true or not, but it would seem to fit in nicely with other events like Falfas abruptly disappearing. Crage has never struck me as anything more than a bean counter.


-Matt

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Thursday, November 4, 2010 3:26 PM
Fun's avatar

MDOmnis, I had heard that story before as well, but one key difference in Bruce Jackson's departure and Falfas's is that his was at least announced and acknowledge in advance:

http://in.reuters.com/finance/stocks/keyDevelopments?symbol=FUN&pn=6

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Thursday, November 4, 2010 11:51 PM

I'm not supporting promoting Crage to CEO, just saying that's my guess as to what is going to happen.

I think we all safely assume CF isn't going to bring in anyone from the outside (unless Raynor puts major, major pressure on the Board). And I just really don't seeing them moving up Bender or Zimmerman to CEO (Bender could easily retire soon...he's been with Cedar Fair 33 or so years I believe).

Basically, I think these moves are Kinzel's attempt to appease Raynor in the short run (i.e. the next year) and to signal who Kinzel wants to be next in line. Raynor mentioned he wanted a more "corporate finance" kind of guy and 3 of the 4 promoted have corporate financial backgrounds... and they made sure to note it for all of them (Crage's time outside the company as a VP of Finance for a resort co., Hoffman's career with EY, and Zimmerman's prior experience in the finance division of Paramount).

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