Six Flags names CFO and executive VP's

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 10:27 AM | Contributed by coasterguts

Six Flags announced today that it has appointed several executives to leadership positions within the company, completing its new senior management team. These executives will lead the company's financial, corporate relationship and park services divisions. Jeffrey Speed is the new CFO, and served as CFO for Euro Disney. Other appointments were made for executive vice presidents in corporate alliances and in-park services.

Read the press release on Yahoo.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 10:30 AM
Hiring a guy as CFO who held the same position at Euro Disney doesn't exactly instill a ton of confidence.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 11:07 AM
Either does raising the price along with not allowing your guests to re-enter the park. I want to hear how fix the problems with the parks the overall park opps that have stunk for so many years now. You can raise the price all you want (I am all for generating revenue) but if you don’t fix what’s wrong at these parks you will still have results that will not change. Fix that first, then move on. Side note:

Jeff I have to say that the podcasts are great, keep up the good work.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 11:22 AM
I agree with Jeff on theCFO but the other two I will wait and see with. Corporate Alliances sounds like they are going to out source a lot of the vending in the park and cross market with those vendors, ie Papa John's Pizza which has been rumored. I wonder about the in park services since what I said above, but this could signal the rumored hotel at GAdv for 2007 is a beginning of a new initiative at Six Flags since this person has a degree in Hotel Administration,
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 12:33 PM
Have they not hired someone that doesn't have a relationship with Disney yet? The last I hired, Disneyland Paris (Euro Disney) still isn't turning a profit and attendance is flat.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 1:05 PM
What does the head of finance have to do with Attendance and Profits? CFOs count the money, CEOs are responsible for making the business profitable.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 1:34 PM
But the CFO has to count the deficit and tell the CEO that what he's doing is hurting the company bottom line. So he better be able to recognize it fast and stop it from hurting the bottom line real bad (like SFI is hurt now).
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 1:51 PM
Ouch... Euro Disney has been in a hole since 1992 and doesn't look like it will climb out of it anytime soon! Hiring one of the guy who could have fixed it and who didn't help at all doesn't inspire confidence.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 2:12 PM
What's next? Hiring the designers of DCA to make over the Six Flags parks?

Also, I don't know how much of this is related to the CFO or his decision, but Euro Disney gave bonuses to executives and then shafted the regular employees blaming poor performance of the parks. Seems pretty irresponsible.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:01 PM
Actually, Speed was the guy who renegotiated and reorganized DLP's agreements with its lendors at the 11th hour. He's pretty much the reason why DLP is still open today, instead of bankrupt & shuttered.

And, with roughly $2B in debt, that's just the kind of creative debt restructuring that SF needs right now to keep the wolves from the door a while longer...

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:33 PM

Also, I don't know how much of this is related to the CFO or his decision, but Euro Disney gave bonuses to executives and then shafted the regular employees blaming poor performance of the parks. Seems pretty irresponsible.

This has been discussed before...there was no "shafting!" Disney mereley honored contractual obligations! Here is the link for those who are intersted in what really happened...

http://www.coasterbuzz.com/2005-353-891627.htm

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 1/18/2006 3:34:28 PM ***

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:18 PM
While technically true to the nature of the contract, I would not use the word "honor" in describing what happened or consider the contract itself and it's negotiators honorable people. It comes down to a basic lack of ethics on the corporations part.

Again, not sure how much this CFO had to play in the part of drafting those contracts (more likely he was a just a part of a chain of people) of the union people and the various exectuives, but any contract written to reward executives for failure at the expense of the park itself only shows lack of character. Are these executives in the park business strictly for their own personal benefit?

Does Six Flags really need another set of high paid, self-serving executives who are only there for a bloated salary? Just hoping for the best because Six Flags has vast potential, but imo they have made some questionable decisions so far.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:49 PM
I would hope that Six Flags has the foresight to hire the best executives available in order to turn around their lagging customer service, profit margins, etc… Of course…sometimes to get the best…you may have to up the bargaining compensation in the form of…I don’t know?? Say guaranteed bonuses? I do not think “the best” will come work for a fledging company without due compensation!

Or they can scrap looking for the best and find somebody willing to work for less in the name of fairness…? Maybe there is indeed “honor” in ever-shrinking stock prices and ever-growing debt?

…of course it is always so easy to blame evil corporation for “honoring” signed contracts with the benefit of 100% hindsight! Damned if you do and damned if you don’t I might say!

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 1/18/2006 4:50:08 PM ***

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:53 PM
Among the appointees from back in December is Michael Kassam who according to a recent New York Post article has a very checkered business past. He plead no contest to an embezzlement charge and then was involved in three seperate civil liability suits. The NY Post requires registration to read the article but the text was reprinted on RRC here
http://makeashorterlink.com/?F62851D7C
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:04 PM
This would be consistent with the Six Flags I see when I visit the park. From Kassam to Shapiro to corndog guy...they have not proven themselves "ethical" in the sense that they care one bit about guest perception of their product! Closed merchants/closed rides/one train operations/apathetic guest service man/stinky restrooms/dry turkey leg...need I go on? Color me skeptical...but I've zero faith in this chain as a whole! Ask me in 5 years and I'll tell you if this new bunch is any better than the last! Same old-same old to me...

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 1/18/2006 5:08:13 PM ***

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 11:14 PM
But Jeffrey, it wouldn't matter if there were no improvement in park cleanliness, customer service, ride operation and maintenance, etc. If they raised prices through the roof, instituted a no re-entry policy, charged customers for something every time they turned around, and still manage not to reduce the debt... you would still be in favor of them receiving "guaranteed bonuses" if that were part of the contract when they got hired. Just a part of doing business.
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Thursday, January 19, 2006 12:46 AM
Am I missing something RGB? Of course I believe that all people/businesses/etc should honor contracts! Don't you?
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Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:12 AM

Among the appointees from back in December is Michael Kassam who according to a recent New York Post article has a very checkered business past. He plead no contest to an embezzlement charge and then was involved in three seperate civil liability suits. The NY Post requires registration to read the article but the text was reprinted on RRC here
http://makeashorterlink.com/?F62851D7C


FYI.... Another 8-K was filed yesterday that noted Kassan (not Kassam) resigned from the board on January 18th. I wonder if he's been upfront with Shapiro and Sndyer?

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:25 AM
I'm sure that Daniel Snyder is a very good businessman. Good buisnessmen don't get that way by themselves. They surround themselves with people who are good at what they do and will make them and their company successful. It would not surprise me to see the exact same thing happen with SF. Snyder and Shapiro will bring in the best people they can to make the company a success. The people that they hire will do a good job and will make Snyder and Shapiro look like geniuses.

The last regime that ran the company had no idea how to surround themselves with good people at all. They had poor leadership and poor secondary leaders also. I'm sure that if this Kassan or Kassam is not the best guy for the job, they will get rid of him quickly and get the best guy for the job in there.

As for his experience at Euro Disney. All he did was be the CFO. The CEO makes all the final decisions, and the majority of that parks failure and debt problems all relate to the CEO. The CFO can say that they are falling inot major debt, but if the CEO doesn't act on it, then nothing gets done.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 10:44 AM
Yes, the problems at DLP go way beyond one person (whether it's the CFO or CEO...) Starting with choosing a bad location (France vs. Spain), and spending WAY too much building the park. (Which, then scared Disney away from investing too much in new parks...resulting in "theme park lite" products at DAK and DCA...)
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