March 1, 2018 — In an internal memo filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), SeaWorld Interim CEO John Reilly announced the departure of Anthony Esparza, the company’s Chief Creative Officer and the promotion of Mike Denninger to the role of Senior Vice President of Attractions. The memo reads in part:
My top priority is to build on our current strong momentum . . . . In order to continue this momentum, I’ve promoted Mike Denninger, a 28-year veteran of SeaWorld, to the newly created role of Senior Vice President of Attractions. Mike knows our company well and understands what brings audiences to our parks. He helped to create some of our most popular attractions, including Cheetah Hunt, Manta and Mako, and he is ideally suited to ensure that we continue to efficiently deliver compellingly creative attractions.
With this change, Anthony Esparza has stepped down from his role as Chief Creative Officer. We very much appreciate Anthony’s efforts over the past 2 years. He and the team have created some highly popular new rides, events, and attractions, and we wish him all the best in the future.
This announcement comes two days after the resignation of SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby.
In addition, Brian Morrow, Vice President of Theme Park Experience Design is departing SeaWorld to open his own design firm, b morrow productions.