Merlin Entertainments announced the promotion of their Senior Executive, Fiona Eastwood, to Chief Operating Officer for both Midway attractions and Resort Theme Parks.
Eastwood will begin the new position with immediate effect and her new role will see her take on the additional management and strategic growth of Merlin’s popular resort theme parks both across the U.K., including Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Warwick Castle, as well as in Europe, including Gardaland in Italy and Heide Park in Germany. She will continue to oversee Midway brands such as SEA LIFE aquariums, Madame Tussauds, Dungeons, as well as iconic destinations such as the lastminute.com London Eye, the Blackpool Ballroom and Tower, and LEGO Discovery Centres.
Fiona has been instrumental in the expansion of the Midway portfolio, overseeing more than 125 attractions across the globe. In the last year, this has included key acquisitions such as the Coex Aquarium in Korea, This is Holland in Amsterdam and the upcoming day-to-day running and management of Cadbury World in Birmingham.
Fiona was previously Chief Operating Officer of Global Midway Attractions since 2019, having joined Merlin as Global Marketing Director, Midway Attractions in 2015, where she was responsible for driving all aspects of brand strategy and marketing across a global portfolio of Midway brands.
Prior to Merlin, Fiona worked at BBC Worldwide, where she was responsible for strategic planning, brand management, market research, ancillary revenues, and branded partnerships across Nordics, CEMA, Asia and Latin America. Previously, she held roles as Managing Director, Consumer Products and Commercial Director for one of the BBC’s biggest international brands, Doctor Who.
“I am thrilled that Fiona has been promoted to this new wider remit,” said Scott O’Neil, CEO of Merlin Entertainments. “Fiona brings with her a passion for the business alongside outstanding expertise in leading brands and IPs which is second to none. I’m looking forward to working with her and the wider team to deliver on the exciting growth strategy we have across both the Midway and our Resort Theme Park portfolio. Fiona has built a reputation throughout the live attractions and theme parks industry as a world class leader, extraordinary business driver and respected developer of a diverse and talented people first culture.”
Eastwood shared, “I’m passionate about making Merlin the greatest place to work. I will continue to bring my curiosity and love for this business and combine that with a commitment to delivering a diverse, inclusive and engaged culture that empowers teams to deliver joyful guest experiences and achieve brilliant results.”
Eastwood will work closely with current Managing Director of Resort Theme Parks, Ian Crabbe, who will continue to work across the Resort Theme Parks before his planned retirement in 2024. Crabbe will also take on an additional championing role to help support Merlin’s talent development programme for those employees’ seeking careers as attraction operators or General Managers.