Cedar Fair has recently announced that it will be splitting the company’s Chairman and CEO roles as a result of the recent unitholders’ vote. Dick Kinzel has reportedly “voluntarily” stepped down from his position as chairman as a result of the unhitholders’ vote to split the two roles, though he will remain the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Cedar Fair until his contracts end on january 3, 2012. C. Thomas “Tom” Harvie will be immediately succeeding Kinzel as the non-excecutive, independent chairman of the Board of Directors.
According to the company’s press release, Harvie has served as an independent director of Cedar Fair since 2008, and chairs the corporate governance committee and CEO succession planning committee. He has also recently served as the senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary for Goodyear.
In the press, Harvie states, “We believe today’s actions will help ensure a smooth and seamless leadership transition for Cedar Fair as it enters a new era of growth and sustained value creation for its unitholders. The Board recognizes the valuable leadership that Dick Kinzel has provided the Company during his years of service as Chairman and CEO, and appreciates his continued commitment to the Company.”
Along with the separation of chairman and CEO roles, Cedar Fair also voted on another proposal, Proposal #2, which calls for the payment of cash distributions to be held at a higher priority than strengthening the company’s balance sheet for the future and reducing leverage. Despite the obvious advantage for the unitholders, the amendment did not receive the required number of votes for approval and failed. Kinzel has said however that they would review the distribution strategy again during the first quarter of 2011 and adjust their payment distribution strategy as necessary.