Sea World Parks & Entertainment hires CEO Joel Manby away from Herschend

Posted Friday, March 20, 2015 8:16 AM | Contributed by rollergator

SeaWorld Entertainment announced Joel Manby as its new CEO Thursday, three months after the struggling theme park operator said it would dump its former chief executive following years of declining attendance, weak earnings, and negative press. Manby previously ran the Herschend family of parks.

Friday, March 20, 2015 8:22 AM
Jeff's avatar

That seems like a pretty good score. I'm interested to see what his first changes are on John Young Parkway, and where it goes from there. I think he needs to inject a lot of fresh thinking into the company.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Friday, March 20, 2015 9:25 AM

I think his first move will be to help/show the employee's he is with them.

I think they made a bad move letting long term employee's go.

(from the closed show) it show's employee's loyalty to the company

will be repaid by you getting fired /let go at the whim of the company

I am not a CEO but at least they are finally replying to the bad PR

from PETA and Blackfish.

Other moves must include getting more families thru the gate.

Offer free multi day tickets with another paid admission (one per family)

will get them 2 or 3 paid admissions for people who were not planning on coming to Seaworld .

I know several parks in California offer annual passes at the cost of one day tickets.

Friday, March 20, 2015 9:27 AM

One of the first things I would consider is to put a couple of people on the Board who are well known in animal care circles. Manby obviously comes with strong amusement industry credentials but Sea World is being attached for it's core mission...which is no doubt the animals. A Jane Goodall type might help to change the course of public opinion.

Friday, March 20, 2015 12:33 PM

I just watched his Undercover Boss earlier this week!

I am one of those people who has actively not visited SeaWorld or Busch Gardens parks in recent years due to the public perception of their parks.

This seems like the kind of guy who could turn my view of the company around, especially given how well respected parks like Dollywood and Silver Dollar City are. I'm already planning on visiting Dollywood for the first time in 2016, and I may have to add Busch Gardens Williamsburg to the "southernly" tour if he does well.

Friday, March 20, 2015 4:27 PM
rollergator's avatar

Some might say he switched horses in midstream - that he jumped off a thoroughbred and climbed aboard a nag headed to the glue factory.

Hard to believe he made this decision on porpoise, he's got a whale of a task ahead, because it looks like Sea World's fate might already be sealed. But Manby has the kind of rep that makes me want to ummm, Believe...

Happy Friday everyone!

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Friday, March 20, 2015 8:14 PM

I was impressed with the path Herschend had Darien Lake on. I was sorry to see them go. Hopefully Manby can bring some of that ideology to the SeaWorld family of parks.

I also like the idea of bringing an animal person on board. Manby may have a good track record when it comes to parks but animal care and conservation efforts are a different matter entirely.

But then again, what do I know?

Saturday, March 21, 2015 8:41 AM
Sawblade5's avatar

Wow I am actually sad to see him leaving HFEC. He did quite a bit for our parks including my secondary home park of Silver Dollar City. HFEC already has animal exhibits with their ownership of various aquariums and Wild Adventures, so he already has experience there.

I hope he can turn Sea World around from their decline. I believe he can do that.

Chris Knight

Monday, March 23, 2015 10:46 AM
Jeff's avatar

SeaWorld has seen a decline in attendance and revenue, but despite all of the gloom and doom, it's still profitable. I'm not sure why people are so intent to poo-poo it and expect the end of days. And I know I'm a broken record, but how do you expect to maintain the numbers when you don't build anything new?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Monday, March 23, 2015 11:23 AM

Adding attractions at the San Diego park is difficult at best. Operating on land leased from the city, and having to deal with the machinations of city council that has a multitude of agendas is like eternally banging your head against the wall. Then there is the California Coastal Commission that has it's nose stuck in the soup all the time. In the past they have threatened to pull up stakes and move elsewhere although the CCC has jurisdiction over all coastal property in the state. With the water issues in CA now going inland is not in the cards.

Monday, March 23, 2015 12:51 PM
Jeff's avatar

I was referring mostly to the larger properties.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Monday, March 23, 2015 1:05 PM

Is San Diego that much smaller than Orlando or San Antonio (or maybe my real question is, is San Antonio really on par with Orlando)? I always kinda viewed Orlando as the flagship while San Diego & San Antonio are the smaller parks.

But then again, what do I know?

Monday, March 23, 2015 1:31 PM

San Diego is the birthplace of SeaWorld, but it's now the smallest park in the chain . With management now in Orlando the corporation not only includes the aquatic parks but the rest of the former Busch properties

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 12:03 AM
sirloindude's avatar

In terms of land area, I think the San Antonio park is actually the largest of the three SeaWorlds, but it definitely comes across as the stripped-down version in terms of investment. It's a very nice park, don't get me wrong, but you won't see Manta-esque levels of detail going into its attractions.

That being said, Steel Eel and Great White make for a great duo. ;)

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 6:06 PM
janfrederick's avatar

Ditto Dutchman's comments. The park really wanted to invest and got shot down. It was a total bummer dude.

That being said, anecdotally, I know a lot of families with young kids here who get season passes. But I'm sure the lego park up the freeway have dipped into that crowd.

We've never bought passes. For animals, nothing beats the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

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