Six Flags replaces general manager of Great Adventure

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

John Fitzgerald, a 28-year veteran of the theme park industry, was named president of Six Flags' entertainment complex in Jackson, the company said today. He replaces Mark Kane.

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Tekwardo's avatar

The original story that I came across said that the GMs of GAdv, MM, and DK were all out, but I just read a story on another site that said that Jay Thomas is actually going to Corporate in Dallas. If true, that's great. Jay has a great reputation with enthusiasts, and he seems to have done well with SFMM (as well as he could, I'm sure) after Del.

Are the 'new' people that came from Freestyle from Paramount parks? I seem to recall some Paramount peeps going to Freestyle when the buyout happened with CFEC, mayhaps Al is bringing in some of his people (Which would be a good thing, IMO).

I'm glad that the company going forward is so far and away from the company that was a few years ago. I even now like the fact that the people that were responsible for the company's turnaround are gone, and going forward, there are fresh, new people with experience in running successful parks.

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Maybe in this case but at SFNE the parsk new GM simply was at the park for a long time and got the job.

I guess we'll just have to sit back and see what happens.

I believe John Fitzgerald was GM of Terra Mitica while it was under Paramount's control, and that would be his connection with Al Weber. Dale Kaetzel who is going to be the GM of Discovery Kingdom was once the GM of Canada's Wonderland while it was under Paramount's control. John and Dale have been running a consulting firm for entertainment venues recently. Coincidentally, both were in charge of the myrtle beach park as Dale was the Hard Rock Park GM and John was the Freestyle Music Park GM.

delan's avatar

Well that makes perfect sense. Replace Mark Kane who has done a stand up job turning around Great Adventure, and replace him with a GM from a FAILED park. Who is making these decisions, a litter of hamsters?

delan said:
Well that makes perfect sense. Replace Mark Kane who has done a stand up job turning around Great Adventure, and replace him with a GM from a FAILED park. Who is making these decisions, a litter of hamsters?

Hmm.... trust the coaster enthusiast or the COO who has worked with these gentlemen at previous jobs. John took Terra Mitica out of a 400 million dollar bankruptcy. I would judge him on those years rather than the 4 months he had at Freestyle. They literally opened the park two months after they bought it. Whether that was a smart decision or not is a good question but that would have been the owners call or Steve Bakers call not John Fitzgeralds.

delan's avatar

Trust me of course! :) I guess my point was that *if* Mark was fired I don't understand the reasoning. But oh well, I will leave this to the professionals.

I have to agree with delan here. Mark (who was moved from SFNE and then that park screeched to a near complete standstill after he left there) really did do an amazing job at GAdv, which was obvious to any of us who have gone throughout the past two decades. He loved the park and it showed, from making the park cleaner and less hostile to families, to actually interacting with the public and going so far as to hold out an open ear to fan forums when he had no obligation to do so. Case in point was a pure fan outing at last year's Fright Fest for another forum that was dubbed "unofficial" and Mark made the effort to not only meet with us, but to answer questions as best as he could. A truly class act who hopefully also has been moved up the ladder if the other rumors are true.

Granted, I am yet another enthusiast, but he left a very noticable mark and managed to undo a lot of the damage the park's reputation had for a long time, and a lot of us appreciate it.

I wasn't saying that firing Mark Kane was the right move just saying that if a GM was going to be hired John Fitzgerald isn't a horrible pick. I don't know much about Mark Kane so I'll take your words for it. He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and got the boot so Al Weber could bring in his guys.

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