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Corporate Leadership Changes

10/04/17 at 10:24am in Corporate Leadership Changes
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Major changes at the top announced today:

Cedar Fair Wrote:Cedar Fair Announces Planned Leadership Succession

10/04/2017

• Richard Zimmerman, president since 2016, to become CEO effective January 1, 2018
• Matt Ouimet, CEO since 2012, to become executive chairman of the board of directors
• Debra Smithart-Oglesby, board member since 2012, to become lead independent director

SANDUSKY, OHIO, October 4, 2017 -- Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today announced that Richard Zimmerman, its president and chief operating officer, will succeed Matt Ouimet as chief executive officer effective January 1, 2018. On the same date, Ouimet will take the newly created role of executive chairman of the board of directors and Debra Smithart-Oglesby will become lead independent director. As part of this process, Zimmerman will also be added to the board of directors during the 2018 annual meeting period. These changes are designed to ensure continuity in leadership as the Company pursues its ongoing strategy of investing in broadening entertainment offerings and new attractions to create greater excitement for guests, and positioning itself to produce strong results for many years to come.

“I have very much appreciated the opportunity to serve as the CEO of Cedar Fair and I am proud of what our team has accomplished,” said Ouimet. “The market value of Cedar Fair has increased by more than $2.6B during my time at the company. This performance provides us with a solid foundation to build upon and a positive outlook for the future. Richard is a perfect choice to succeed me as CEO and I look forward to continuing to partner with him as the executive chairman going forward.”

Zimmerman, age 57, has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality and leisure entertainment industry. He became president of Cedar Fair in 2016, having been named COO in 2011 after serving as an executive vice president since 2007. He also served as vice president and general manager of the Kings Dominion amusement park beginning in 1998. Prior to entering the amusement park industry, Zimmerman served in various financial and strategic planning roles with Paramount Communications, Inc.

“Richard has the skills and experience required to lead the company forward,” Ouimet stated. “He has been a great thought partner to me and has made major contributions to our strong performance, including being a key driver behind such successful initiatives as Fast Lane, season passes and our all-season dining and beverage programs.”

“Having the opportunity to lead Cedar Fair is a distinct yet humbling honor,” said Zimmerman. “We are fortunate to have an exceptional organization with a deep and talented leadership team. We are also fortunate to be a leader in an industry that continues to have the potential to grow and expand. I look forward to the opportunity to continue broadening our offerings to better serve our guests, as well as providing long-term value for our investors.”

In conjunction with Ouimet’s move to executive chairman of the board of directors, the Company also noted effective January 1, 2018, Eric Affeldt will transition from his role as chairman of the board but will continue to serve as a director. Since joining the board in 2010 and assuming the chairman role in 2012, Affeldt has overseen improvements in Cedar Fair’s corporate strategy and governance standards, increased board diversity, improved alignment of executive compensation with unitholder interests, and supported enhanced investor relations. He also led the development of the senior leadership succession plan the Company is announcing today.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Debra’s skills and board experience to take on the role of lead independent director,” said Affeldt. “Debra has been a valuable voice in all of our deliberations and will be an even greater asset in her new role as lead independent director.”

About Cedar Fair
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: “FUN”), one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world, is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio. Focused on its mission to become “THE place to be for FUN,” the Company owns and operates 11 amusement parks including its flagship park, Cedar Point, along with two outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels. It also operates an additional theme park under a management contract. Its parks are located in Ohio, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan and Toronto, Ontario.

Forward-Looking Statements
Some of the statements contained in this news release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements as to the Company’s expectations, beliefs and strategies regarding the future. These statements may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Important factors, including general economic conditions, adverse weather conditions, competition for consumer leisure time and spending, unanticipated construction delays, changes in the Company’s capital investment plans and projects and other factors discussed from time to time by the Company in reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) could affect attendance at the Company’s parks and cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s expectations. Additional information on risk factors that may affect the business and financial results of the Company can be found in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and in the filings of the Company made from time to time with the SEC. The Company undertakes no obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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10/04/17 at 12:27pm in Corporate Leadership Changes
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I'm glad to see Matt Ouimet is not leaving the company entirely. I feel like the guest experience of their parks has improved under Ouimet's leadership and the chain's additions have been of a higher quality than in the past.

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10/23/17 at 09:26am in Corporate Leadership Changes
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Cleveland.com presented a great write up of the transition of CEO Matt Ouimet to their new CEO Richard Zimmerman. They also discuss plans for Cedar Fair going forward such as the future expansion of Cedar Point's Boardwalk and chain-wide topics such as labor force challenges, the success of Fast Lane, WinterFest, the shuttered Geauga Lake property and the company's relationship with Sandusky, Ohio.

Anyway check it out here.

Random side note from me: one thing I thought was interesting is that unlike Ouimet, Zimmerman will be operating out of Cedar Fair's corporate offices in Charlotte, North Carolina instead of out of the "executive offices" in Sandusky, Ohio. I did not realize that Cedar Fair had kept Paramount Park's corporate offices after the merger almost a decade ago. It was a bit unclear to me what the purpose of the "Executive Offices" in Ohio are for if the Company's main corporate office is in Charlotte. I don't know, I just thought that was a bit interesting.

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10/25/17 at 03:55am in Corporate Leadership Changes
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There maybe tax implecations given where the offices are. I don't know much about Ohio's corporate taxes, but North Carolina's are somewhat favorable.

It maybe that they keep executive offices in Ohio for appearances as CP is the mother ship, but are incorporated in NC for tax purposes.

It may also be a facilities thing. It may that the offices in NC are fantastic, but so far away from anything that they have been avoided.

I will say this one thing, now that I know they have executive offices in Charlotte KD not becoming the SE flagship park makes more sense.

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10/25/17 at 04:21pm in Corporate Leadership Changes
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(10/25/17 03:55am)Zimmy Wrote:  There maybe tax implecations given where the offices are.  I don't know much about Ohio's corporate taxes, but North Carolina's are somewhat favorable.

It maybe that they keep executive offices in Ohio for appearances as CP is the mother ship, but are incorporated in NC for tax purposes.

It may also be a facilities thing.  It may that the offices in NC are fantastic, but so far away from anything that they have been avoided.

I will say this one thing, now that I know they have executive offices in Charlotte KD not becoming the SE flagship park makes more sense.

I actually just looked at their SEC filings and they are incorporated in Delaware and list their "Executive Offices" as being in Sandusky.

I guess I was mostly surprised about the new CEO being based in Charlotte because everything I had read in the past stated that Cedar Fair shuttered the Paramount Parks offices (which were located in Charlotte) after their acquisition on 2006. I've actually spent some time this afternoon digging around to see if I can find where the information regarding the closure of the old Paramount office came from and all I've found is the Wikipedia pages for Cedar Fair and Paramount Park's that mention the closure and both of those articles lack any citation for the statement.

This all leads me to believe that Cedar Fair never closed those offices since the new CEO will be based out of this office. The only problem is I can't actually find any information regarding the location of these offices. Are they on Carowinds' property? Or are they in an office tower in downtown Charlotte? Or maybe some suburban office park in the Charlotte area? FUN's corporate website list's their address at 1 Cedar Point Dr Sandusky, OH.

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10/25/17 at 04:26pm in Corporate Leadership Changes (Latest Edit: 10/25/17 at 09:37pm by Shane.)
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Whoop! Looks like I found something just after I hit post. This article from "The Blade" in 2006 indicates that FUN had not made a decision to close the Charlotte office though it's lease at an office park in Charlotte would be up in September...


**UPDATE** So it looks like I found the answer. In September of 2006 Cedar Fair let the lease lapse on Paramount Park's Corporate Office in Charlotte and relocated those employees to Carowind's onsite offices. So, unless between 2006-2017 Cedar Fair got new office digs the new CEO will be based out of offices on-site at Carowinds. If all of that is true, I wonder why the article just didn't say that he will be located out of Carowinds instead of the way they stated it, "our Corporate Office in Charlotte."

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10/25/17 at 07:50pm in Corporate Leadership Changes (Latest Edit: 10/25/17 at 07:51pm by Zimmy.)
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Incidentally I almost made mention of Delaware, as it actually has the highest number of corporations in the country.  (no corporate taxes)

Sounds more like Charlotte served as an "alt-site." Even still that would provide it more clout than we previous thought, perhaps explaining the cosey relationship they have with the state and why Caro got "favored nation status"

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