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SeaWorld CEO Abruptly Resigns After Seven Months Amid Strife With Board

The entrance to Sea World is seen, in Orlando, Fla. SeaWorld, Jan. 31, 2017.

Credit: Associated Press

Above: The entrance to Sea World is seen, in Orlando, Fla. SeaWorld, Jan. 31, 2017.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. announced Monday that CEO Gustavo Antorcha resigned after only seven months leading the aquatic entertainment and theme park company.

SeaWorld Entertainment, which owns SeaWorld San Diego and the Aquatica water park in Chula Vista, announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Antorcha informed the company Friday that he was resigning from his position as CEO and from his seat on the company's board of directions.

"Mr. Antorcha informed the company that his resignation was due to disagreements over the board's involvement in the decision-making at the company," SeaWorld Entertainment wrote in the filing.

The company also announced that Chief Financial Officer Marc Swanson was appointed as interim CEO and Chief Accounting Officer Elizabeth Gulacsy will become the interim chief financial officer in addition to her current role. All three moves are effective immediately, according to the filing.

Antorcha was SeaWorld Entertainment's third CEO in five years as the company, with the company still trying to rebound from financial struggles following the release of the 2013 film "Blackfish," which scrutinized theme parks focused on performing animals like orca whales. Since then, the company has focused more on traditional theme park amenities like roller coasters.

Swanson and Gulacsy have been with the company for 19 and seven years, respectively, according to a statement from the company. Antorcha and SeaWorld Entertainment Board of Directors Chair Scott Ross both expressed confidence in their ability to lead the company in the immediate future.

"The strategy we have in place is working and we have made significant progress," Ross said. "We look forward to continuing to execute on this strategy and driving a meaningful increase in value for all stakeholders."

The company noted that it is working with an executive search firm to find a successor for Antorcha.


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