SeaWorld Entertainment Names Marc Swanson as CEO

Marc Swanson, a 20-year veteran of SeaWorld Entertainment, has been named chief executive officer.

Swanson, who had been interim SeaWorld CEO before his appointment, has served in multiple roles for the company, which operates 12 destination and regional theme parks. It is also the parent company of iconic entertainment brands, including SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens, Sea Rescue, and Sesame Place.

“The past year has been a unique and extraordinary period for our company, our industry, and the world,” Swanson said. “The capabilities of our management team combined with the complementary expertise of our board allowed us to make the innovative and necessary decisions to address an unthinkable and unprecedented reality. Today, we have even more confidence in our long-term strategy, and I look forward to continuing working with our dedicated team and Board to drive long-term value for all stakeholders.”

Swanson joined the company in 2004, serving as vice president of Sesame Place. From 2008 to 2011, he served as corporate controller for Busch Entertainment Corp. From 2011 to 2012, he was vice president of performance management and corporate controller of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

Since 2012, he has served as chief accounting officer and was interim chief accounting officer for four months in 2015. In August 2017, he was appointed interim CEO.

The company also announced that interim chief financial officer Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy was named to the permanent role.

Swanson earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Purdue University and a master’s degree in business administration from DePaul University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Orlando Science Center.

Swanson recently spoke at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) 2021 virtual conference about the challenges and opportunities the industry faces in a post-COVID-19 reality. His speech, “Navigating the Covid-19 Crisis,” discussed the critical roles played by senior leadership and board members in leading through the pandemic.

Scott Ross, chairman of the Board of Directors, cited strong leadership during the pandemic.

“Over the past year, Marc and Elizabeth, alongside the Board, have continued to execute on the strategic initiatives we have been working on over the past several years and have taken the necessary decisive actions to position the Company for long-term success,” said Ross, who is managing partner of Hill Path Capital.