Walt Disney World news

SeaWorld's CEO steps down

Leah Zanolla | Posted: Dec 12, 2014 | Updated: Dec 12, 2014 - 10:46:01 AM
SeaWorld CEO, Jim Atchison, is stepping down from his position, which he has held since 2009. He will now become vice chairman and will join the board of the company's independent nonprofit conservation fund. The company's chairman, David D'Alessandro, will fill in as interim CEO, effective January 15, until Atchison's replacement is found. SeaWorld has been hurting financially due to low attendance after the documentary Blackfish was released last year, alleging that the marine park's animals are poorly treated.

SeaWorld will be cutting jobs as well, as part of a plan to cut $50 million a year in costs. An exact number of how many jobs will be lost was not released.

Two new directors were named to the company's board. Ellen Tauscher is a former congresswoman from California and William Gray is a former advertising executive, who has also been a senior advisor to Blackstone, a shareholding group who owns stock in SeaWorld.

SeaWorld's stocks have dropped 45 percent in the last year.