- Michelle F. Adams, a former casino hotel CFO, on Friday began serving as CFO and treasurer for the theme park and entertainment firm SeaWorld, the company announced.
- The appointment follows the May announcement that SeaWorld’s previous CFO, Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy, would resign from SeaWorld as its CFO, treasurer and interim chief accounting officer, effective Dec. 31 or upon the appointment of her successor, according to a company filing. She will continue to remain with the company for several months, serving in a consulting capacity to help ensure a smooth transition, the filing states.
- The appointment follows strong earnings for the theme park operator in the first quarter, with U.S. consumers seemingly more willing to splurge on theme or water park tickets than other forms of in-person entertainment.
Prior to her appointment with SeaWorld, Adams had served as CFO for the Cosmopolitan, a Las Vegas hotel and casino, since April 2015. She also previously served as the Cosmopolitan’s corporate controller from May 2014 until her move to the CFO seat. Before joining the Cosmopolitan, Adams was also a partner at RubinBrown LLP, responsible for their Hospitality and Gaming Group and held manager roles at Deloitte.
At SeaWorld Adams will receive an annual salary of $400,000, according to a company filing, as well as an annual bonus opportunity with a target equal to her base salary, payable in either cash or company stock. She will also receive a one-time grant for stock options.
The appointment follows a strong quarter for SeaWorld, which operates and owns eight theme parks and four water parks, including its Busch Gardens and Sesame Park destinations as well as the three SeaWorld branded locations it operates in San Diego and San Antonio, California as well as Orlando, Florida.
Attendance and park revenue were both up for the theme park operator compared to 2021 figures, with revenue reaching record highs, according to the company’s first quarter earnings release on May 5. Attendance rose to 3.4 million guests in the quarter, up nearly 54% from the same period in 2021. Total revenue for the quarter hit a record $270.7 million, a 57.5% jump year-over-year, according to the company’s earnings release.
Unlike many other in-person entertainment areas, sales at theme parks have swelled recently, with consumers splurging more on theme or water park tickets over those for an in-person movie, according to a June 19 Bloomberg report. Movie ticket sales are still down 40% from pre-pandemic figures despite blockbusters such as Jurassic World Dominion and Top Gun: Maverick, with movies currently reaping $3.2 billion in sales for the year to date compared to the $5.1 billion seen in 2019. Theme parks, however, have seen a spike in revenue driven both by higher attendance and higher ticket prices, with Disney and concert venue Live Nation among those reporting positive quarterly growth.
SeaWorld did not immediately respond to requests for comment.