In somewhat of a surprise to most, Cedar Fair announces that it will introduce a new CEO at the start of the 2018 calendar year. Since 2012, Matt Ouimet has held the top spot at Cedar Fair, but he will be moving into a newly formed Executive Chairman of the Board position effective on January 1, 2018. This move makes way for incoming CEO, Richard Zimmerman, a long-time executive and current President and COO at Cedar Fair. “I have very much appreciated the opportunity to serve as the CEO of Cedar Fair and I am proud of what our team has accomplished,” said current Cedar Fair CEO, Matt Ouimet. “The market value of Cedar Fair has increased by more than $2.6B during my time at the company. This performance provides us with a solid foundation to build upon and a positive outlook for the future. Richard is a perfect choice to succeed me as CEO and I look forward to continuing to partner with him as the executive chairman going forward.”
Cedar Fair Makes Odd Move?
It is unknown exactly why the move is being made. Cedar Fair has continued to grow its business during Ouimet’s time as CEO. The company continues to be a leader within the amusement industry. Without speculating too much, it is possible that Cedar Fair is in a similar situation as Six Flags was a few years ago. The demands on the CEO of a major amusement park company are numerous. This move allows Ouimet to stay onboard and possibly lessen his workload while promoting a highly-effective executive, Zimmerman, to a new position. This allows the company to keep two great leaders while spreading the workload out more and more over the highly-capable executive team. Don’t expect Cedar Fair to diminish or lose its current upward-trending financial results. Even with the challenges in 2017, the company continues to out-performance many within the industry and looks to have a great 2018 operating season lined up, highlighted by four of its parks adding world class roller coasters – Cedar Point, Kings Dominion, California’s Great America, and Knott’s Berry Farm.
Compensation Plans Unveiled
As with public companies, Cedar Fair has filed it compensation plans for the incoming CEO and Executive Chairman of the Board with the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). In those SEC filings, it appears that CEO Zimmerman will receive an annual base salary of $750,000, and Executive Chairman Ouimet will get $500,000 in addition to various other executive benefits.