Last updated: 04:16 PM ET, Fri March 20 2015

SeaWorld Entertainment Appoints Joel Manby as President, CEO

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | March 20, 2015

SeaWorld Entertainment Appoints Joel Manby as President, CEO

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. has announced the appointment of Joel Manby as president and CEO of the Orlando, Florida-based company, according to

The promotion will be effective on April 7.

The 55-year-old theme park veteran is scheduled to take over president and CEO responsibilities nearly three months after Jim Atchison stepped down after five years in the role and amid declining park attendance, net income and revenue last year.

"Even in the most challenging business environments, Joel has consistently enhanced the performance of the companies he has led for customers, investors and employees alike," said SeaWorld chairman David D'Alessandro, who has been serving as interim CEO in the wake of Atchison's resignation back in mid-January. 

"He has the experience and qualifications to lead our company into the future," added D'Alessandro.

According to FBR & Co. analyst Barton Crockett, the appointment "fills a leadership void earlier than expected." Crockett added that Manby "has some branding background that we think could be an important skill set for SeaWorld right now."

Prior to this week's announcement, Manby was serving as president and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment. Among notable properties, the family-owned company owns the Dollywood theme park as well as the Harlem Globetrotters. 

The well-rounded Manby also boasts previous experience in the auto industry having served as CEO of Saab Automobile USA. 

Manby will now be responsible for bringing a new attitude to SeaWorld's leadership unit and ultimately turning around the company's fortunes. Increasing attendance across SeaWorld's theme parks and boosting revenue will be among Manby's most important and toughest tasks. 

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