Cedar Fair

New Cedar Fair CEO Seen Ridding Millennium Force on July 31st

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Cedar Point - Matt Ouimet and John Hildebrandt on Millennium Force

I was in the park on Sunday, July 31st, when John Hildebrandt and Matt Ouimet came onto Millennium Force for a ride during early entry.

Cedar Point’s Coasting for Kids Three Years and Thriving

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Cedar Point Press Release

SANDUSKY, Ohio – Coaster-riding will take on a new meaning when Cedar Point hosts Coasting for Kids on Sunday, July 24 at the Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park/resort.

This special event helps raise money for Give Kids The World, a Florida-based nonprofit organization that provides weeklong vacations to children who have life-threatening diseases and their families.

Cedar Point has participated in the event since 2009. In two years, it has raised more than $27,000 for the organization.

During Coasting for Kids, the top 60 guests who raised the most pledge money will have the opportunity to ride on the park’s legendary Gemini and Magnum XL-200 roller coasters for up to nine hours. They will start their day on the Magnum from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then make their way to the Gemini from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Each participant is required to raise at least $75 by Wednesday, July 20 through their own fundraising page at www.firstgiving.com/gktw. Interested guests who want to participate but cannot attend may sign up as a “virtual rider.” Last year, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company that owns and operates Cedar Point and 10 other amusement parks raised more than $40,000 for the organization!

Participants will receive a complimentary breakfast and lunch, event T-shirt and free admission into the park. Prizes will also be awarded to the top three fundraisers. First place will be awarded a four-hour VIP Tour for four people, second place will receive four tickets to HalloWeekends and a behind-the-scene tour at Cedar Point and third place will earn a Give Kids The World bag, filled with gifts from the Give Kids The World Village.

Any guest who brings an item from the Give Kids The World wish list on Sunday, July 24, will receive a coupon for $10 off regular one-day admission to Cedar Point. The coupons are only valid that day and cannot be used with any other coupon or discount.

Founded in 1986, Give Kids The World also provides children in poor health and their families with accommodations and donated tickets to many popular attractions around the country, including Cedar Point.

For more information about Coasting for Kids, please visit cedarpoint.com or call the park’s general information line at 419-627-2350.

Former Disney exec named president of Cedar Fair

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From the Sandusky Register

SANDUSKY

Cedar Fair said Monday it has found a successor for Dick Kinzel, the longtime Cedar Fair CEO who made Cedar Point the roller coaster capital of the world.

The new leader is Matthew Ouimet, 53, a former executive for the Walt Disney Co. and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Ouimet began work Monday in Cedar Fair’s Sandusky office, in the back of the park, as the new president of Cedar Fair. When Kinzel, 70, retires on Jan. 3 as CEO, Ouimet will succeed him.

In an interview, Ouimet (pronounced “We MET”) said he plans to keep the company’s headquarters in Sandusky and will make sure Cedar Point remains the “crown jewel” of Cedar Fair’s family of amusement parks.

“I see no logic to moving out of Sandusky,” said Ouimet, who, along with his wife, will move to Ohio from Orange County, Calif.

Investors will get a look at Cedar Fair’s new leader when the company hosts its annual meeting at 9 a.m. July 7 at the Cedar Point Center at BGSU Firelands.

Ouimet spent 17 years with Disney, including handling the financial management of Disney’s parks and projects in California, Florida and France as the company’s senior vice president; running the Disney Vacation Club, and serving as president of the Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland Resort. More recently, he served as president of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, overseeing 900 properties in 90 countries, and was president and CEO of Corinthian Colleges. Ouimet is also on the board of Collective Brands, which owns the Payless ShoeSource chain.

Disney emphasizes qualities such as service and cleanliness and has a culture similar to Cedar Fair’s, Ouimet said.

“I grew up in a culture that was all about quality,” Ouimet said.

He said his visits to Cedar Fair parks such as Knotts Berry Farm and meetings with Cedar Fair officials showed Cedar Fair has a similar focus.

“It is clear to me this team has extremely high standards,” Ouimet said.

He said he shares Cedar Fair’s philosophy of keeping its parks clean.

“I can’t walk through a park and leave anything on the ground,” he said.

C. Thomas Harvie, Cedar Fair’s chairman of the board, said Ouimet was the right man to lead Cedar Fair into the future.

Harvie cited Ouimet’s track record of finding growth opportunities and his background in resort development, finance, marketing and operations.

The board met other candidates who were well-qualified, Harvie said.

“The board agreed that Matt stood out from the rest due to his strategic business mindset and his natural and engaging leadership style,” Harvie said.

“Matt is an impressive business and operational executive whose character and values will be a great complement to the strong Cedar Fair culture,” Kinzel said.

The Q Investments family of companies, controlled by Texas investment banker Geoffrey Raynor, has warned it might oppose a new Cedar Fair CEO if it didn’t approve of the board’s choice.

On Monday, Q released a statement reserving judgment on Ouimet, but pushing Q’s position that unitholders should be allowed to nominate members of Cedar Fair’s board.

“We have no current comment on the hiring of Mr. Ouimet. However, regardless of whether the company hires Matt Ouimet or Warren Buffett, it does not change the fact that unitholders should have the right to nominate their own directors. We will continue to take every step necessary to ensure unitholders ultimately receive this right, which 95 percent of voting unitholders demanded at the last special meeting,” the Q statement said.

Cedar Fair names former Disney executive Matthew A. Ouimet president of the company

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Matthew A. Ouimet

Matthew A. Ouimet

  • Ouimet brings deep amusement park and resort industry experience and a rich understanding of financial, operational and brand management to this leadership role
  • Ouimet will succeed CEO Dick Kinzel on January 3, 2012, as part of Company’s CEO succession planning process

SANDUSKY, OHIO, June 20, 2011 – Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN) today announced that Matthew A. Ouimet has been named president of the Company, effective immediately. Ouimet, 53, will succeed Dick Kinzel, 70, as chief executive officer, who will retire upon the expiration of his contract on January 3, 2012. Today’s action is in line with Cedar Fair’s previously announced CEO succession planning process.

Ouimet is a 20 year veteran of the amusement park and hospitality industry, of which 17 years were spent with the Walt Disney Company (“Disney”). During his tenure with the global entertainment conglomerate, he had the opportunity to work in a wide range of business lines with increasing levels of responsibility. Highlights of his tenure at Disney include serving as:

  • Senior vice president, finance and business development, and chief financial officer of the Disney Development Company, in which he was responsible for the financial management of Disney’s resort, theme park and corporate real estate projects in California, Florida and France;
  • Executive general manager of Disney Vacation Club, where, through expanded marketing and sales initiatives, Disney established itself as a major competitor in the timeshare industry;
  • President of Disney Cruise Line, where his team built the most successful family cruise product in the industry;
  • President of the Disneyland Resort, where he and his team developed and implemented a comprehensive strategic plan that resulted in significantly improved and sustained performance for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary and beyond.

In 2006, Ouimet was recruited to serve as the President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, overseeing 900 owned, managed and franchised hotel properties in 95 countries. In this capacity, in support of brand-driven pricing premiums, he drove an operational focus on delivering a guest experience consistent with the characteristics of each of Starwood’s hotel brands, including St Regis, Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels and five other brands. In 2008, Ouimet joined Corinthian Colleges, a $2 billion, publicly-held, post-secondary education company which operates in the U.S. and Canada. As President and Chief Operating Officer, Ouimet championed executive talent development and the expansion of management and systems infrastructure to support rapid growth in the student population and expanded regulatory complexity.

“Without question, Matt is the right leader to join Cedar Fair now as it builds momentum on its renewed path of sustained, profitable growth in 2011 and beyond,” said C. Thomas (“Tom”) Harvie, independent chairman.  “Throughout his career, Matt has proven to be a critical thinker and effective business strategist with an enviable track record for identifying growth opportunities within existing businesses in the amusement park and resort industry. His broad and diverse background in resort development, finance, marketing and operations will allow him to integrate quickly into Cedar Fair.

“While our thorough search process with the assistance of the executive search firm Korn/Ferry International enabled us to meet with and consider many extremely qualified candidates, the Board agreed that Matt stood out from the rest due to his strategic business mindset and his natural and engaging leadership style,” said Harvie.

“Matt is an impressive business and operational executive whose character and values will be a great complement to the strong Cedar Fair culture,” said Dick Kinzel, chief executive officer. “I look forward to working with him over the coming months to ensure a seamless leadership transition.”

Ouimet currently serves on the Board of Collective Brands, Inc., a $3.4 billion global enterprise encompassing the internationally recognized footwear brands of Payless, Sperry Top-Sider, Stride Rite and Saucony, where he serves as a financial expert on the audit and finance committee. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in accounting from State University of New York at Binghamton.

“I am thrilled to join this successful Cedar Fair leadership team. I am particularly pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with Dick Kinzel and to continue to build on his legacy in years to come,” said Matt Ouimet. “Cedar Fair is a wonderful company – its properties are vibrant and extremely well-run, its reputation is superb, and the record-setting 2010 performance has put us on a path to deliver the positive financial results Cedar Fair has long been known for. I am truly honored to have this opportunity and sincerely thank the Board for entrusting me with this critical leadership role at this pivotal point in Cedar Fair’s evolution.”

“On behalf of the Board, the management team and all of our colleagues past and present, I would like to thank Dick Kinzel for his unparalleled vision, passion and selfless dedication to Cedar Fair over the years,” said Harvie. “Without Dick, Cedar Fair would not have the opportunities or the growth potential it has today. He has been the heart and soul of this organization for many, many years and, while he can be succeeded, he can never be replaced. We wish Dick and his wonderful family all the very best as he moves into his well-deserved retirement at the end of the year.”

Kinzel began his career in the amusement park industry at Cedar Point in 1972. In 1986, he was named president and chief executive officer of Cedar Fair, L.P., the parent company of the parks, which was listed on The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: FUN) in 1987. Kinzel also served as chairman of the Board from 2003 to 2010.

 

Cedar Point’s Season Pass Center to Open Next Week

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Cedar Point Press Release

SANDUSKY, Ohio – Although Old Man Winter is not giving up without a fight, summer fun is right around the corner. Two sure indicators of summer’s arrival are the start of baseball season and the opening of Cedar Point’s Season Pass Center, less than three weeks before the Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park/resort begins its 142nd season on Saturday, May 14.

Amid much anticipation, Cedar Point kicks off the summer countdown by opening the doors to its Season Pass Center on Wednesday, April 27. The Center will be open to purchase and/or process season passes Wednesdays through Sundays until Friday, May 13. Hours will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays while extending its hours to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Beginning Saturday, May 14, the Season Pass Center will be open from 9 a.m. to park closing.

New for this summer, Cedar Point introduces Instant Online Renewal! Current passholders can simply purchase a renewal pass online to insure an updated pass for the 2011 season.  No need for a new picture or pass to be made. Some restrictions apply. Please visit cedarpoint.com for complete details.

For new season passholders, Cedar Point Season Pass and Cedar Fair Platinum Pass exchange vouchers must be redeemed for a non-transferable photo ID card before being used for admission to Cedar Point, Soak City waterpark or any other Cedar Fair Entertainment Company amusement or outdoor waterpark.

Returning for its fourth year, the Cedar Fair Platinum Pass is the biggest and best ticket to fun and excitement around. For only $165, the Platinum Pass includes unlimited admission and free parking at all of the amusement and outdoor waterparks owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, including Cedar Point, Soak City waterpark, Wildwater Kingdom, and Kings Island. Plus, each park will offer additional benefits that will vary throughout the year.

Currently, a four-pack Platinum Pass is available online at cedarpoint.com for only $155 per pass, a savings of $40. For a complete listing of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company Parks, please visit cedarfair.com.

Cedar Point Season Passes (for guests ages 3-61, 48 inches and taller in shoes) are $106 and are only valid for admission to Cedar Point. Parking passes for Cedar Point are not available. For additional savings, a two-pack Cedar Point Season Pass can be purchased online for $99.99 each at cedarpoint.com.

Cedar Fair Junior/Senior Platinum Passes (for guests under 48 inches tall in bare feet or age 62 and older at time of redemption) are $92; Cedar Point Junior/Senior Passes are $69. Children age 2 and under are always free.

Cedar Point will open for the 2011 season on Saturday, May 14. For more information on season pass benefits, guests can visit cedarpoint.com or call 419.627.2309.

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