SeaWorld CFO Jumps Ship

The embattled entertainment park operator announced that finance chief Peter J. Crage is leaving the company.
Vincent RyanAugust 1, 2017
SeaWorld CFO Jumps Ship

SeaWorld CFO Peter J. Crage is leaving the entertainment park operator “to assume a senior-level financial position” at an unnamed company.

Craig, who will remain with the company through August, is being replaced on an interim basis by Marc G. Swanson, SeaWorld’s chief accounting officer since 2012. Swanson was named interim CFO and interim treasurer.

Crage had been SeaWorld’s CFO since September 2015, overseeing finance, strategic sourcing, procurement, accounts payable, and internal audit and planning.

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Prior to taking the job at SeaWorld, Crage served as the CFO of Extended Stay America, ESH Hospitality, and HVM LLC. From 2004 to 2011, he served in leadership roles at Cedar Fair, one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world, including the positions of executive vice president and CFO, corporate controller, and treasurer.

In May, SeaWorld Entertainment reported a first-quarter loss that narrowed to $61.1 million, or 72 cents a share, from $84.0 million, or $1.00 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue fell 15%, to $186.4 million.

Then in late June, the company disclosed it was being investigated by two federal agencies over public statements by executives in August 2014 that blamed the company’s missed earnings on the scrutiny of its treatment of animals.

DealReporter said on Tuesday that the company has hired Evercore Partners to explore strategic options, including a possible sale.

The documentary Blackfish, released in 2013, threw a harsh light on SeaWorld’s handling of killer whales in captivity. The theme park has said it is phasing out its orca shows, but that may take until 2019.

Last week, a three-month-old killer whale named Kyara died at the company’s San Antonio park. Kyara was the last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld’s former orca-breeding program.

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