SeaWorld park President Jim Dean has moved up to a position in SeaWorld’s corporate office. In turn, a corporate officer has now taken over the reins of the Orlando park.
The new president is Mark Pauls, who had previously served as vice president of operations for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. Pauls has also held leadership positions at two of the company’s parks in Virginia, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA.
The news of Dean’s change in position was first reported earlier this month by theme park blog Behind The Thrills.
Dean, who had previously spent nearly seven years as park president of Busch Garden Tampa, had been in charge at SeaWorld Orlando since 2017. In recent months, the park and the larger company have shown signs of a turnaround. Attendance at all SeaWorld parks was up nearly 15 percent year-over-year in the first three months of 2018, followed by another 4.8 percent jump in the second quarter of the year.
Despite more guests coming through the gates, SeaWorld cut 125 positions a day after announcing positive financial results in August. It also faces continued challenges from competing against the larger, but more expensive Disney World and Universal Orlando.
The top job at SeaWorld’s corporate office remains up for grabs. John Reilly has served as interim CEO since February and has been named as a contender to take over the role on a permanent basis.