SeaWorld picks two theme park veterans for its board

Theme park operator SeaWorld Entertainment Inc said on Friday it had added a theme park veteran to its board and nominated another as it seeks to reverse sliding attendance.

Attendance at the company’s parks has been falling amid negative publicity and criticism from animal rights activists upset about the treatment of captive marine mammals.

The company, which operates marine parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio, said last month it would stop breeding killer whales and that those in its care would be the last.

SeaWorld said on Friday that Ron Bension, the president of House of Blues Entertainment at Live Nation, would replace former chief executive Jim Atchison on its board. Donald Robinson, a former executive vice president of Hong Kong Disneyland, has been nominated for election.

Bension, 61, has served as chairman and CEO of Universal Studios Recreation Group, while Robinson, 62, has overseen operations of four theme parks and three water parks during his career, SeaWorld said.

SeaWorld also recommended its shareholders vote to adopt two new corporate governance practices, one of which would enable shareholders to elect directors annually.

Atchison, who resigned in 2014 after SeaWorld was scrutinized in the 2013 film “Blackfish”, will step down from the board but remain as a consultant, the company said.

(Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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