SeaWorld chooses Carnival Cruise executive to lead the theme park company

SeaWorld uses playful otters, killer whales and giant sea turtles to reconnect with visitors
Kaja, a Queensland heeler from the “Pets Rule” show, is accompanied by trainer Danica Waitley as she peers into the killer whale tank..
(Nancee E. Lewis / TNS )

A year after its chief executive resigned, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. on Tuesday named Gustavo Antorcha, a top executive with Carnival Cruise Line, as the Orlando, Fla., company’s new CEO.

Interim CEO John Reilly, a former president of the San Diego SeaWorld park, was named chief operating officer for the theme park company. The announcement, the company said, follows a thorough search process led by a special committee of the board of directors.

“Gus helped deliver strong financial results and improved guest satisfaction at Carnival by leading efforts to optimize pricing, improve onboard marketing and communications, introduce new guest experiences and drive capital and cost efficiencies — all core to SeaWorld’s current strategy,” said Yoshikazu Maruyama, chairman of the board of directors.

Antorcha, most recently chief operating officer at Carnival, has been with the cruise line for more than eight years. Before joining Carnival, he was a partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group, a global strategy and management consulting firm, where he helped clients in the travel and leisure industries with their operational strategies.


Antorcha said he was looking forward to working with SeaWorld employees “to enhance and accelerate” current efforts to improve revenue and profitability.

Antorcha replaces Joel Manby, who stepped down last year after failing to end the sliding attendance and revenues that had dogged the company years after the release of the anti-animal captivity documentary “Blackfish.” Over the last year, the company has seen a significant increase in revenues and visitation as it invested more money in theme park attractions, including three roller coasters at the San Diego park.

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