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SeaWorld CEO resigns

SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison Steps Down

CEO Jim Atchison resigns and layoffs are announced after a troubled year that has seen SeaWorld battling financial and legal woes

Jim Atchison is stepping down as CEO of Seaworld effective 15 January, 2015, according to a company statement released yesterday. Chairman David F. D'Alessandro will step in as interim CEO until a permanent successor is appointed. Mr Atchison will become the board’s Vice Chairman as well as a business consultant.

SeaWorld also revealed that their previously announced cost-saving initiative will include a restructuring programme across their 11 parks and some employees will be laid off. Those affected will be offered severance benefits.

'In order to achieve the goals of our business realignment, we regret that some positions will necessarily be eliminated,' said Mr Atchison in a statement. 'However, our cost savings effort is part of a broader program to position us for long term growth.'

The statement does not offer any explanation for Mr Atchison’s departure. The Orlando Sentinel also reported that a SeaWorld spokesperson declined to say whether the board requested Mr Atchison’s resignation.

This development comes after a string of financial and legal woes for Seaworld, which in 2014 have seen attendance drop and stocks plummet. The company were also slammed with lawsuits, including one from shareholders who said they were misled about the impact of the documentary Blackfish on SeaWorld’s performance.

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