Joel Manby has stepped down as CEO of the struggling chain earlier this week. After a massive loss in attendance and revenue since the release of the Blackfish film in 2013, the company has struggled to keep a positive public image and business strategy.
We recently posted an article on the deplorable state of SeaWorld's operations, and it is no surprise that the board is looking to shake things up. Manby joined the company in 2015, after serving as Herschend Family Entertainment's CEO. An industry veteran, Manby was able to help plan growth and development of those major parks over his tenure.
Upon arriving to SeaWorld, Manby cannot be credited fro much success, save for removal of killer whale shows and a few major ride additions such as Mako, a B&M Hyper Coaster. It's quite unfortunate that SeaWorld hasn't taken the hint by now and begun removing marine exhibits wide-scale.
While I do believe that SeaWorld's animals are given some of the best veterinary care from around the world, the perception of abuse looms, especially as a public traded company. It seems pointless to remove animals from a marine based park, but this would only stand for the larger animals, such as orcas and those who need extensive space. Replacing them could be exhibits featuring animatronics ir new rides with a marine theme.
SeaWorld does not have to strip themselves of the wildlife fully, but should definitely seek growth through attraction investment instead, much like they've done for this upcoming season. The interim CEO, John T. Reilly should focus on replenishing the park's revenue, attendance, and budgets, and creating atmospheres more like the Busch Gardens parks.
At this point, only a massive rollback on animals, or a massive transition to full fledged theme parks will probably turn things around. We will see what happens over the coming years...