3 Takeaways From SeaWorld CEO's Surprise Resignation

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc SEAS announced Monday evening that Gustavo Antorcha resigned as CEO and board member due to a "difference of approach".

What Happened

Antorcha's resignation will be effective immediately and he will be replaced with CFO Marc Swanson on an interim basis. Swanson has been with SeaWorld for nearly two decades and his leadership has been vital in ensuring the "success of the business for several years," Scott Ross, board chairman said in a press release.

Antorcha's "unexpected" departure as CEO is unlikely to result in any material impact to the company's strategy in the near term, according to Bank of America analyst Bryan Goldberg. However, the announcement suggests "elevated uncertainty" as it relates to a long-term strategy since the company is looking outside of the organization for a new permanent CEO replacement.

What's Next

The bearish case for SeaWorld remains unchanged, partly due to the absence of permanent leadership, the analyst wrote in a note. In fact, Antorcha is the company's third CEO over the past six years.

Other risks to owning the stock include growing competition and potential visitation headwinds from international tourists, especially from Brazil which is a key group for the Florida market.

Bank of America maintains an Underperform rating on SeaWorld's stock with a $22 price target.

SeaWorld shares traded down 4.3% to $28.85 at time of publication.

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