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.
It looks like SeaWorld San Diego will be adding a $10 million “Manta”-themed attraction of its own in 2012, however the remainder of the details will remain mum until February, when the park plans to release a full announcement. The park has been keeping the project under wraps thus far, but amusement park enthusiasts, unable to resist searching for clues ahead of town, found bids for a “Sea World Manta Exhibit & Ride Attraction 2012” on McGraw-Hill Constructions website and “recreational” construction (which includes the category of roller coasters). Officials for the park declined to comment but said they plan to make an announcement in February. This information was reported by the LA Times and Theme Park Tourist websites.
From a series of alleged blueprints for the ride found and posted by Screamscape, the information seems to point to SeaWorld San Diego’s version of Manta being a Mack Launch Coaster, similar to the Blue Fire coaster that opened at Europa Park in 2009. From the blueprints and rumors, it looks like the coaster will have two separate launches, but other layout details, such as inversions and terrain, are unclear from the images. The images also show a sit-down train (from Mack) with a Stingray-themed design on them.
The park originally planned to open a new roller coaster for the 2010 season, but the project was put on hold when the SeaWorld and Busch parks were bought by the Blackstone Group, following InBev’s takeover in 2009. That coaster was apparently supposed to be a roller coaster similar in design to the pair of Revenge of the Mummy roller coasters seen at the Universal parks in Hollywood and Florida.
Please note, the park has not yet confirmed ANY of these details yet, and they are based purely on speculation from the “leaks” on the internet combined with a little hard evidence (construction bids). The park will be making an official announcement for their 2012 attraction in February, so stay tuned for the release.