Following the collapse of SeaWorld shares (NYSE: SEAS) which hit an all-time low yesterday of $15.75 a share, SeaWorld Entertainmen\’s Chief Executive Officer — Jim Atchison, is stepping down. In a press release issued by the company, SeaWorld announced:
Effective January 15, 2015, Chairman David F. D’Alessandro will serve as the Company’s interim CEO until the Board of Directors (the “Board”) selects a permanent successor to current CEO and President, Jim Atchison, who will become Vice Chairman of the Board.
While the move is not a surprise given SeaWorld’s abysmal stock performance — stock has dropped more than 50 percent, the giant marine park has also been hit with several lawsuits including a shareholder lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors over the impact of the “Blackfish” documentary.
Atchison, who took on the role of CEO in 2009, admitted recently that the company should have battled back harder against what has been labeled the “Blackfish Effect.” With attendance and profits down across SeaWorld parks, we are surprised that Atchison kept his position this long. Although the marine park did not state whether the former CEO stepped down willingly — or was asked to step down, we do have an answer for them. “I want to officially apply for the job,” Ric said, “they have a problem and I have the solution.”
O’Barry explained from Taiji, Japan where he is monitoring the Cove, that he could show the SeaWorld stockholders how they can be on the right side of history and still make a profit — “The general public will buy tickets to experience captive dolphin rehabilitation, release, or retirement instead,” he added.