SeaWorld CEO to Step Down

SeaWorld CEO to Step Down Troubled theme park operator SeaWorld Entertainment Inc said Jim Atchison would step down as chief executive, and it would cut some jobs, sending the company’s shares up 2 percent in extended trading.

SeaWorld did not say how many jobs it would cut, as part of its restructuring plan aimed at saving about $50 million by the end of 2015.

The company’s amusement parks have come under scrutiny after its handling of orcas was scrutinized in the 2013 film “Blackfish,” which documented the killing of a trainer at the company’s Orlando, Florida, park by a whale.

Negative publicity has hurt SeaWorld’s 11 park enterprises, with attendance rising only twice in the last seven quarters.

Chairman David D’Alessandro will serve as interim CEO, effective Jan. 15, 2015, said the company, which also added two independent directors to its board. SeaWorld expects to find a permanent CEO in six to eight months.