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Is SeaWorld in Trouble After This CEO Departure?

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) shares took a step back on Tuesday after the firm announced that there would be a big change in its executive leadership. Gustavo Antorcha has resigned from his roles as chief executive and member of the board of directors, effective immediately.

This is a very short stint for Antorcha, as he was only hired in February, making his stay at SeaWorld only seven months. He was previously a chief operating officer with Carnival, where he worked for over eight years. He replaced Joel Manby, who stepped down last year after failing to deliver in regards to sliding attendance and revenue that dogged the company since the “Blackfish” documentary release.

Marc Swanson, who serves as chief financial officer, has been appointed interim chief executive officer.  Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy, who serves as chief accounting officer, has been appointed interim chief financial officer. However, Antorcha has agreed to assist the firm to ensure a smooth transition.

Scott Ross, chair of the board of directors, commented:

We thank Gus for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors. We know Marc and Elizabeth will be excellent leaders in their new roles and will continue to successfully drive the business forward.  Marc has been with the Company for 19 years and has a deep understanding of the Company, its parks and its strategy.  He has been a key contributor to the success of the business for several years.  Elizabeth has been with the Company for 7 years and has extensive knowledge of the Company and its financial profile.

It’s worth pointing out that SeaWorld’s stock has done exceedingly well over the past six months, with its shares up roughly 27%. Year to date, the stock is up closer to 36%.

Shares of SeaWorld traded down 4% to $28.97 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $21.36 to $34.72. The consensus analyst target is $34.18.