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Six Flags New President & CEO

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Postby Sven18 on October 24th, 2019, 3:56 pm
https://investors.sixflags.com/news-and ... -211409223

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, today announced that it has appointed Mike Spanos as President and Chief Executive Officer effective November 18, 2019, and as a member of the Board of Directors effective immediately. Mr. Spanos will be relocating to the Dallas-Fort Worth area with his family.

The company’s announcement follows a thorough search process led by a special committee of the Board of Directors. Jim Reid-Anderson, Chairman, President and CEO, will resign as a director and an officer of the company effective November 18, 2019. As of that date, Richard Roedel, who has served on the Board of Directors since December, 2010, will be appointed Non-Executive Chairman of the Board.

Mr. Spanos, 55, most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, Asia, Middle East and North Africa (AMENA). AMENA is a sector with $6.0 billion in revenue that spans more than 43 countries with 20,000 direct and 115,000 indirect employees across food and franchise beverage operations, contributing $1.2 billion in operating profit. Under his leadership, the company set a new strategic direction that accelerated both top line and operating profit growth over multiple years through a transformational agenda, first in the Greater China region and then across the AMENA sector, generating significant shareholder value in relation to accelerated revenue, profit, and market share growth.

“Mike is a proven value creator and results-oriented leader, with a strong track-record in operationally intensive businesses both in North America and internationally,” said Jon Luther, Six Flags Independent Lead Director. “His strong strategic ability, marketplace intuition and people leadership skills make him ideal to lead Six Flags.”

Mr. Reid-Anderson added, “As a major investor in Six Flags, I have the utmost confidence in Mike’s ability to further supercharge our growth initiatives, continue to drive innovation, and deliver significant short, medium and long-term value for our stakeholders.”

“I am thrilled to join the dedicated and talented employees of Six Flags,” said Mr. Spanos. “Jim has built an amazing legacy, and I look forward to the next horizon of growth. It is a privilege to be able to lead such a superb organization.”

Mr. Spanos previously held commercial general management roles of increasing responsibility at PepsiCo since 1993, first starting as a frontline territory manager in North America. He has served across multiple international markets for more than seven of his 25 years with PepsiCo, including assignments in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Before joining PepsiCo, Mr. Spanos served in the United States Marine Corps from 1987 to 1993. He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy with a B.S. degree in History, and received his M.S. degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.
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Postby Sven18 on October 24th, 2019, 4:04 pm
1 Day after a miss on earnings report. Stock down 30% year to date and got hammered 12% after bad report yesterday. JRA made no hint of a announcement coming soon on the conf call. Got to wonder if the 12% yesterday and 1.6% today expedited the announcement. People are just not buying what JRA is selling for sometime on the conf calls & even wehn he was on the financial shows yesterday trying to spin yesterday. Yes, JRA it was a record revenue Q3, but 1M more in revenue with 400K more guests is not good,with 5M less net income
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Postby CoasterRiderSC on October 25th, 2019, 7:27 am
Sven - do you think Spanos was brought on due to his experience in the Asia, Middle East and North Africa? Perhaps Six Flags is going to ramp up it's international expansion, either by license deals or new parks?

I'm a little concerned because he has no experience in the theme park industry. This reminds me of when Sears brought in a former CEO of fast food chain (Aylwin Lewis) to be CEO of Sears. That didn't work out too well.

Maybe food operations will improve at least :)
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Postby Sven18 on October 25th, 2019, 9:10 am
CoasterRiderSC wrote:Sven - do you think Spanos was brought on due to his experience in the Asia, Middle East and North Africa? Perhaps Six Flags is going to ramp up it's international expansion, either by license deals or new parks?

I'm a little concerned because he has no experience in the theme park industry.

Maybe food operations will improve at least :)


SF claimed originally they could have more than 20 China parks(theme/water) by 2020 in China with the current partner. These openings are clearly not going as smoothly as they thought. They commented on it on the conf call a bit talking about dealing with central planning of Chinese government. The thing is the Chinese partner is the one doing the nuts & bolts, not SF. The foreign licensing deals are not going to be as quick money as SF planned as parks are getting altered all the time. Now one of the parks in the Chongquing 2 park complex will be in 2021 instead of 2020. Another park they are not claiming pre opening revenue on any more b/c of delays. While Spanos has experience in the region the foreign licensing deals are such a small part of the revenue(3%) and even in the near future the domestic parks one would think would be priority. Trying to get organic growth in the domestics parks is the key and what analysts have been harping on for about 2 years. Spanos having no experience in the industry is not a big of deal, JRA had no experience in theme parks.
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Postby JackGlass on October 25th, 2019, 1:35 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbm8eHqcxhs

This is a 20 year old presentation video from Premier Parks. Six Flags America was getting 2 million guests in 1999

In 2018, Six Flags America only had 1.1 million guests. The attendance was nearly cut in half over the past 20 years. Despite it being in a large population center.

Why? Six Flags let the parks appearance go to hell and they haven't added an attraction that actually makes people want to go there since 2001. Iron Wolf and Ragin Cajun are just hand me downs from Great America. Iron Wolf absolutely sucks and Ragin Cajun is just a spinning mouse. Nothing that's going to give the locals a reason to go there.

Hopefully the new CEO has a plan to fuel organic growth. In Six Flags Americas case, all they would need to do is get it back to its 1999 levels and it would be a major improvement, lol
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Postby staticshadows on October 25th, 2019, 2:05 pm
JackGlass wrote:In 2018, Six Flags America only had 1.1 million guests. The attendance was nearly cut in half over the past 20 years. Despite it being in a large population center.

Do you have an actual source for this number? Don't say wikipedia.
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Postby JackGlass on October 25th, 2019, 2:19 pm
staticshadows wrote:
JackGlass wrote:In 2018, Six Flags America only had 1.1 million guests. The attendance was nearly cut in half over the past 20 years. Despite it being in a large population center.

Do you have an actual source for this number? Don't say wikipedia.


I got it from this video, which came from the 2018 annual report

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npAnHqWCY8U
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Postby staticshadows on October 25th, 2019, 2:34 pm
JackGlass wrote:I got it from this video, which came from the 2018 annual report

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npAnHqWCY8U


Six Flags does not release attendance numbers and it's not in the 2018 annual report. A youtube video is not a credible source.
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Postby Sven18 on October 25th, 2019, 4:11 pm
JackGlass wrote:
staticshadows wrote:
JackGlass wrote:In 2018, Six Flags America only had 1.1 million guests. The attendance was nearly cut in half over the past 20 years. Despite it being in a large population center.

Do you have an actual source for this number? Don't say wikipedia.


I got it from this video, which came from the 2018 annual report

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npAnHqWCY8U


The numbers he listed were from old data with questionable sourcing. He got the 1.18M from TheParkDatabase website which had that listed for 2005. http://www.theparkdb.com//results/in/name/25
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Postby Sven18 on October 25th, 2019, 4:21 pm
SIx Flags stock down another 2% today so people weren't overly impressed with the announcement. Often a stock bleeding will show a bounce with a new CEO announcement. The stock got a couple of price cuts post earnings from 1 year target from $62 to $55. Considering the stock is just over $43 after today that still an expected 25% gain to get to $55. This might be a buying opportunity, but not sure its hit the lows yet.
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Postby coasterfanatic on November 2nd, 2019, 11:13 am
To make a real difference, the new CEO needs to drop the “something new in every park every year”.

If you look at the annual report, Cedar Fair spends about the same amount of money on a yearly basis as Six Flags does on capital investments. The difference? Cedar Fair only adds something new to a small handful parks each year. This allows them to spend bigger on the parks they do add it (like Orion at Kings Island)

However, they did promote a board member to the chairman title. The new ceo will only be the President and CEO. Not sure what the difference of each title is but I’m not expecting radical changes. The board likely chose someone who was going to stay with six Flags current business model.


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Postby Sven18 on November 4th, 2019, 4:58 pm
coasterfanatic wrote:To make a real difference, the new CEO needs to drop the “something new in every park every year”.

If you look at the annual report, Cedar Fair spends about the same amount of money on a yearly basis as Six Flags does on capital investments. The difference? Cedar Fair only adds something new to a small handful parks each year. This allows them to spend bigger on the parks they do add it (like Orion at Kings Island)

However, they did promote a board member to the chairman title. The new ceo will only be the President and CEO. Not sure what the difference of each title is but I’m not expecting radical changes. The board likely chose someone who was going to stay with six Flags current business model.


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Cedar Fair announced in their August analyst day which explained their strategy going forward that they are going to give every park something every year. They did it for 2020 and that did amount to some parks just getting a festival event...Ie....Valley Fair getting Grand Carnivale. Cedar Fair spends about 10M+ more on core investment but spends heavily on their hotel/resorts, etc... Total Capex for Cedar Fair is thus far beyond SF, FY 2018 Cedar Fair total Capex was 190M, SF 133M. I'm don't think any SF patrons besides enthusiasts are concerned with the smaller coasters, less Capex rides, etc... Whether building a 30M coaster will raise revenue more than splitting that 30M over 5 parks. The big coaster is expected of Cedar Fair over the last decade & not of SF post bankruptcy.

Six Flags' problem is that they need to get more from each customer, raise per capital spending. The memberships push was meant to address this. SF is last in per cap compared to Cedar Fair & Sea World Entertainment. Whiles SF has converted the easy convertible to memberships they seem to be having more difficulty in converting some. They mentioned in the Q3 call increasing promos..ie...eliminating the processing/deposit fees & offering the free gold to platinum membership upgrade.

If SF can't raise per caps b/c too many customers are used to the lower prices than they need to get a new major revenue stream. Cedar Fair has the resort/hotels(2 new hotels opening & renovating newly bought resort), 1 sports complex, another opening Jan 2020, which all bolster out of park revenue by 150M+ in FY 2018. That out of park money is just going to keep growing as these new assets come on line. I don't think it would be wise to go into hotel/resort business for SF b/c it's very Capex intensive, which is something they are not keen on. The foreign license deals could be an eventual 200M/yr boost for SF, but those are taking along time to come on line with delays, cancellations of a few, etc... I got the development survey a few months back about the entertainment centers, so SF is surely looking at new out of park possible revenue streams.

The new CEO is very very unlikely to make major changes. From the comments earlier during the search process they seemed to be looking for someone to continue the implementation of the current plan of memberships, foreign license deals, selective acquisitions(operating leases), increase meal plan penetration among the active base. The selection was made by the board & JRA as a major stock holder said he would be involved. JRA had 250M worth of stock Jan 2019, with the 25% + loss in share value he's lost 60M+ this year in paper value. Picking the right person protects his wealth.
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Postby Sven18 on February 21st, 2020, 11:24 am
First everyone knows I always thought JRA was often a BS artist, especially the last 2 years with his comments on the obvious lack of organic growth that he kept denying. Well the new CEO with an initial burst of transparency & honesty proves JRA was full of it.

Based on the numbers given the legacy parks have been doing poorly as a whole & what little growth in the chain that was happening was mostly via the lease parks added in 2018 & the foreign park deals

Legacy parks revenue increased just 7M in 2018..the 100M total revenue increase was 86M from the 1st year of lease parks & 7M increase in sponsor/licensing(includes foreign parks)
Legacy parks revenue increased just 1M in 2019 Lease parks revenue increased 11% to 95M from 86M

Next, the attendance deception Spanos revealed when JRA denied lack of growth

2017 30.421 Legacy only
2018 32.024M Legacy 29.935M decrease , Lease parks 2.089
2019 32.8M, Legacy 30M increase 65K, Lease parks 2.8M increase 723K

2018 total increase was 1.603M & the lease parks had 2.089M, that means legacy park attendance was down in 2018


The Conf call by Spanos gave a very good first impression.

"As the new leader of Six Flags, I have 4 commitments to you:
1)I will be deliberate, strategic and long-term focused in my decision-making
2) I will instill a strong sense of urgency amongst our teams to address the issues we are facing
3) I will communicate our progress along the way in a complete and transparent manner
4)I will hold the team and myself accountable for delivering strong results


"We need to focus on our base business and deal with 2 primary issues.

First, although we have grown attendance from our Active Pass Base, where organic attendance has declined primarily due to a reduction in single-day visitors. We need to grow both our Active Pass Base and our single day visitation, and I believe that this is something we can move quickly to address.

Second, our operating costs have been increased at an average rate of nearly 2% over the same period faster than our base revenue growth of less than 1%, causing operating deleverage and margin compression in our base business. Our park teams have worked hard to offset cost headwinds from minimum and competitive wage increases through other cost savings. However, this has had an adverse effect on the guest experience and created downward pressure in certain areas of our guest satisfaction scores.

Doing this requires us to adapt our strategy to today's dynamic consumer environment and to evolve our operating model to both counter the higher wage environment and deliver a better guest experience.

We are quickly moving to simplify our membership and season pass offerings and registration process, which will help us attract and retain consumers into our Active Pass Base.

Finally, within our parks, there is an opportunity to incorporate technology to streamline the end-to-end guest experience, improve culinary and improve operating efficiency and productivity.


We expect to share a comprehensive and exciting strategic path forward at an Investor Day on May 28.


LOOKING FORWARD GREATLY TO THE PLAN! I THINK SPANOS MAY BE THE RIGHT GUY TO TURN THINGS AROUND
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Postby JackGlass on February 22nd, 2020, 8:26 am
I wonder what the new Capex percentage will be?

Will they keep adding a new ride in every park every year? or will they go back to their old strategy and rotate?

I can't wait until May 28th to hear the details.
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Postby coasterfanatic on February 28th, 2020, 3:13 pm
JackGlass wrote:I wonder what the new Capex percentage will be?

Will they keep adding a new ride in every park every year? or will they go back to their old strategy and rotate?

I can't wait until May 28th to hear the details.


Based off the impressions I got from Spanos, I don't think they will keep the something new in every park every year. That might not happen til 2021 if they are already have a sound plan for 2020s CAPEX plans.. We obviously will find out more on May 28th.

They have extra money now that they reduced the dividend pay out
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Postby Sven18 on February 28th, 2020, 3:34 pm
coasterfanatic wrote:
JackGlass wrote:I wonder what the new Capex percentage will be?

Will they keep adding a new ride in every park every year? or will they go back to their old strategy and rotate?

I can't wait until May 28th to hear the details.


Based off the impressions I got from Spanos, I don't think they will keep the something new in every park every year. That might not happen til 2021 if they are already have a sound plan for 2020s CAPEX plans.. We obviously will find out more on May 28th.

They have extra money now that they reduced the dividend pay out


Good portion of savings from cutting dividend to $1/share will go to debt. Dividend payments go from 279M to 84M..save 195M However, they talked about l leverage debt/EBIDTA.

Current debt 2.3B/527M = 4.4x
EBIDTA Guidance in 2020 is 435 to 465M so 2.3B/435M = 5.3x 2.3B/465M = 4.94x
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Postby JackGlass on February 28th, 2020, 5:14 pm
Hopefully, Infrastructure and Beautification are top priorities.

As far as the "Every park gets something new every year" strategy. I really hope they stop doing that. I would rather wait a few years and get a solid giga or a complete refurbishment of American Eagle or a B&M Floorless rather than getting cheap rides every year.

Plus, with its $11 Million price tag. Give St Louis or America a Zadra clone. Give people a reason to actually visit these parks again, lol
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Postby Coaster Justin on March 1st, 2020, 10:40 pm
JackGlass wrote:Hopefully, Infrastructure and Beautification are top priorities.

As far as the "Every park gets something new every year" strategy. I really hope they stop doing that. I would rather wait a few years and get a solid giga or a complete refurbishment of American Eagle or a B&M Floorless rather than getting cheap rides every year.

Plus, with its $11 Million price tag. Give St Louis or America a Zadra clone. Give people a reason to actually visit these parks again, lol



According to rcdb, It was PLN 61,500,000 which translates to 15.7m, Not 11
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Postby JackGlass on March 2nd, 2020, 8:57 am
It used to be listed on RCDB as $11,000,000 They just recently changed it.

Even at $15.7 Million. That's a great deal for such an amazing coaster.
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Postby Sven18 on March 2nd, 2020, 9:15 am
JackGlass wrote:It used to be listed on RCDB as $11,000,000 They just recently changed it.

Even at $15.7 Million. That's a great deal for such an amazing coaster.


The excepted bid was made public..10M euros which is about 11.1M USD
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Postby Sven18 on March 9th, 2020, 12:23 pm
https://investors.sixflags.com/news-and ... -110031503

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, (NYSE:SIX) the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, is pleased to announce that Laura W. Doerre has joined the company as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. She succeeds Lance Balk, who retired on March 2 after more than 9 years in the role. Ms. Doerre is a highly respected legal expert with 30 years of global experience in mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, corporate governance, complex litigation, labor and employment law, and benefits.

Seems Spanos is cleaning house a bit, another top level exec person that "retired" this year, all from the JRA era & in theory involved in the problems he inherited.
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Postby staticshadows on March 9th, 2020, 1:08 pm
Not really, the retirement agreement is dated Nov 15th, 2019 and Spanos became CEO on Nov 18th, 2019. Lance Balk will have an office at Great America during the transition term.
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/701374/000070137419000157/six-20191115xex99.htm

The CFO was forced out because you can't have someone accused of lying to investors continuing to represent the company.
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Postby Sven18 on March 9th, 2020, 1:50 pm
staticshadows wrote:Not really, the retirement agreement is dated Nov 15th, 2019 and Spanos became CEO on Nov 18th, 2019. Lance Balk will have an office at Great America during the transition term.
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/701374/000070137419000157/six-20191115xex99.htm

The CFO was forced out because you can't have someone accused of lying to investors continuing to represent the company.


3 days is irrelevant. Nov 15th vs Nov 18th. Spanos was picked before the announcement on Nov 18th & when people start "retiring" & transitioned to a demoted status it's b/c the new CEO wants then out & wants their own people. The chief legal counsel just like Barber & JRA had a major role in the failed China deal. The legal counsel & CFO are supposed to have done the diligence on the finances of the partners. SF had Vietnam,Dubai,& China deals fall thru on their watch b/c of finances of the partners.
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Postby CoasterRiderSC on March 9th, 2020, 2:03 pm
Sven18 wrote:
staticshadows wrote:Not really, the retirement agreement is dated Nov 15th, 2019 and Spanos became CEO on Nov 18th, 2019. Lance Balk will have an office at Great America during the transition term.
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/701374/000070137419000157/six-20191115xex99.htm

The CFO was forced out because you can't have someone accused of lying to investors continuing to represent the company.


3 days is irrelevant. Nov 15th vs Nov 18th. Spanos was picked before the announcement on Nov 18th & when people start "retiring" & transitioned to a demoted status it's b/c the new CEO wants then out & wants their own people. The chief legal counsel just like Barber & JRA had a major role in the failed China deal. The legal counsel & CFO are supposed to have done the diligence on the finances of the partners. SF had Vietnam,Dubai,& China deals fall thru on their watch b/c of finances of the partners.


Very good points! Thanks for posting all this info. Hopefully Spanos and crew and turn things around.
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Postby JackGlass on March 9th, 2020, 2:54 pm
Diamondback at Frontier City is finally having a station built. Six Flags St. louis and Six Flags America are getting revamped entrances. I hope they continue doing stuff like this. It really adds to the overall experience
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