Cedar Fair vote elects to split CEO and chairman roles, distribution increase too close to call

Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2011 12:04 PM | Contributed by Fun

Shareholders of Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. voted today in Huron to change the management structure of the company. The shareholders also voted on raising the dividend, but the vote was too close to call this morning.

Read more from The Plain Dealer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 12:30 PM

Well, take your pick Dick Kinzel...red gemini or blue gemini? ;)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:02 PM

They won't do anything about this for Dick - they probably would have to pay him his full contract (unless he volunteered to give up the salary for one of the roles) and will use that as an excuse to not split the roles right away.

Then the split roles will be used as an excuse for Dick to linger while they attempt to find a team of two who would take the roles.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:17 PM

Why would they need a team of two? He's retiring from the CEO position, correct? He could still stay on as Chairman of the Board.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:31 PM

I am impressed. Usually the Plain Dealer takes at least 2 days to report on a story like this.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:32 PM

Not exactly. The new provision stipulates that the new Chairman cannot have been a previous officer of the company. (It was a sticky issue with me though I did ultimately vote in favor of separating the positions.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:41 PM

Ah. Well, good for them. I guess Bart will be moving back to Sandusky now ;).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:46 PM

That's not even something to joke about!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:56 PM

Still no public statement about what I think is one of the most obvious cases of Kinzel's abuse of power. If I hide in the closet maybe the hurricane won't hit me. The issue of CEO's General Manager son HAS to be addressed before I will have restored faith in this Board of Directors.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:59 PM

Well, now that he got us Intimidator, you guys can have him back. I'd take Mr. Helms as Park General Manager any day. He did a fantastic job at Trek.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 4:18 PM

Who's Bart? Is Bart Dick's kid?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 4:30 PM

Wait -- I thought Bart was one of the trains on Maverick? ;)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 4:47 PM

Bart is one of Dick Kinzel's sons...and the current General Manager at Carowinds. He came up in the company through food services (sound familiar) and was the GM at the Friday's near Castaway for a time. He went out to Star Trek the Experience (and may have had a stop in between...though I'm not sure) before landing in the Carolina's.

I want to refrain from too much bashing...but suffice it to say I think there are plenty of more deserving people in the company to have been given that job and if dad wasn't the CEO I don't think he would even be a Division Head, let alone GM.

Dick also has a son in law in a position of authority at Cedar Point though I can't say anything bad about his performance because I'm not familiar with it. But, I would further argue that this could still be viewed as nepotism or in the very least poor business practice, particularly in light of Bart.

I'm not really wanting to make it this personal...but Dick didn't really give anyone a choice when he allowed/directed this to happen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 4:53 PM

Thanks, Wahoo I knew somebody would give me an answer sometime.

Sounds like if your a family member you get promoted over anyone else, while at the same time not deserving of the job title given to you. Unfortunately i've worked at a few places that practiced this crap and all it does in the long run is frustrate your good employees.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 5:06 PM

I worked with some of the Kinzel kids when they were, well, kids and they had "seasonal" jobs. Those I worked with were a pleasure to be around, didn't really make a deal of who their dad was, and there were no issues to speak of. I know one of them has gone on to be quite successful outside of dad's shadow and kudos to him for doing so.

But, having your child work for you in a "seasonal" capacity is a LONG way from having your child become one of your General Managers. Companies have these types of nepotism policies for good reason and Kinzel (and his Board) seem to simply ignore the conflict of interest.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 5:19 PM

I think one of the Kinzels went on to GM the Great Wolf out here in Western Washington, did he? Obviously he had to do that on his own accord, so I give him credit for that.

I know some people working at Carowinds right now are not exactly fans. I know of one person who even quit, and has some nice Facebook exchanges recorded for posterity that demonstrate the kind of lack of accountability you have when daddy is your boss.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 6:41 PM

An article today in the Toledo Blade states the Board does not have to follow the vote and Dick is not likely to give up the Chairman role.

Last edited by Theme Park Guy, Tuesday, January 11, 2011 6:41 PM
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:39 PM

I understand that the board doesn't have to follow the vote but the question is whether they will.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:47 PM

They will implement a policy in regards to the separation of Chairman & CEO roles "in a prudent and appropriate manner." I hope that doesn't mean they are waiting until next January when Dick leaves to implement it. Are they really that stupid?

Last edited by Buckeyes1, Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:49 PM
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 9:22 PM

Kinzel's son in-law, Tim Boals, is corporate vice-president of resale (foods, games, and merchandise).

As Wahoo Skipper mentioned earlier, Bart worked in foods at Cedar Point. In 2004, he became Director of Food Services at Geauga Lake. I would like to think that was Bill Spehn's choice and not Dick's. After the Paramount purchase, Bart became GM of Star Trek in Vegas.

What I find to be somewhat of a double standard, however, was that in 2006 Cedar Fair chose to fire the Paramount GM at Carowinds and replace him with John Shanrock, the Director of Food Services at Valleyfair. No one really cried foul about that choice even though Shanrock had a similar background in Foods as Bart.


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