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SeaWorld Entertainment Names Theme Park Veterans as New Chief Financial and Creative Officers

ABOVE: Journey to Atlantis, SeaWorld Orlando. Courtesy SeaWorld Entertainment.

Orlando, FL, USA (August 17, 2015) — SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (the “Company”), a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Peter J. Crage to serve as Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) of the Company, effective September 1, 2015. Crage has more than 30 years’ experience, having most recently served as Chief Financial Officer at Extended Stay America, Inc. and previously as Chief Financial Officer at Cedar Fair, L.P., among his other positions.

In addition, the Company named Anthony Esparza as Chief Creative Officer, effective September 8, 2015. Esparza previously served as Senior Vice President, Guest Experiences, Design and Development for Herschend Enterprises, among other extensive experience in related industries.

Anthony Esparza
Anthony Esparza

“Peter and Anthony are strong and important additions to our leadership team as we continue to drive improvement in the Company’s performance, competitive position and shareholder value,” said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. “Each of these seasoned executives brings a proven track record of success and broad experience that will contribute to our ability to execute our plan and advance our progress. Peter is a deeply talented executive with significant finance expertise and experience with public companies and in the entertainment and theme park industry. Anthony has an outstanding reputation in our industry and beyond and he brings us exceptional creative vision that will help our team fulfill the Company’s goals.”

With these appointments, Marc G. Swanson will conclude his service as Interim CFO, effective on September 1, 2015, and will continue to serve as the Company’s Chief Accounting Officer.  “I would like to thank Marc for his commitment to this Company and would like to note the excellent job he did as Interim CFO over these past few months.  These efforts will help to assure a smooth and seamless transition to Peter’s leadership,” Manby said.

Chief Creative Officer Scott Helmstedter is returning to his home state of California and will continue his work with the Company in a consulting capacity.  He will assist with the creative content for the Company’s new attractions and events as well as media and entertainment opportunities.   “I thank Scott for his leadership during his tenure.  He will continue to be a valuable asset to us across our creative and entertainment platforms,” Manby added.

Crage, 53, most recently served as Chief Financial Officer of Extended Stay America, Inc. and ESH Hospitality, Inc. from November 2013 through July  2014 and served as Chief Financial Officer of HVM LLC from July 2011 to November 2013. From November 2010 to June 2011, Crage served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Cedar Fair, L.P., one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world. From July 2005 to November 2010, he served as Cedar Fair L.P.’s Corporate Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  Prior to that, he served as Treasurer for Cedar Fair L.P.

Esparza, 54, most recently served as Senior Vice President, Guest Experiences, Design and Development for Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned theme park and entertainment company in the United States, from 2003-2015.  From 1995-2003, Esparza served as the Senior Vice President of Design and Entertainment for Paramount Parks, a Viacom Company.  Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Creative Development at Landmark Entertainment Group in Los Angeles.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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