SeaWorld announces president promoted to oversee all SeaWorld theme parks

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – SeaWorld San Diego announced Friday that President John Reilly was promoted and will now oversee all SeaWorld Entertainment theme parks.

Reilly will be succeeded in San Diego April 1 by Marilyn Hannes, now the firm’s vice president of global sales.

"These leaders bring to their new roles an extraordinary depth of knowledge and talent and the right expertise to deliver on our strategic priorities,” said Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment. "John is a strong and experienced operator who has proven his leadership, both at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and amidst a challenging operating environment at our California location.”

SeaWorld San Diego has been buffeted by near-constant protests by animal rights organizations over the use of orcas in its shows.

Park attendance has been down since the release of the documentary "Blackfish,” which purports to show alleged mistreatment of killer whales. Allegations made in the "Blackfish” are inaccurate, according to park officials.

Additionally, the California Coastal Commission approved an expansion of the park’s orca tanks only with the condition that SeaWorld stop its captive breeding program. SeaWorld is suing to overturn the ruling, contending the commission overstepped its authority.

Reilly has led SeaWorld San Diego since 2010. Hannes has been with SeaWorld since 1997, serving in a variety of roles, including as vice president of marketing and sales for the company’s California parks.

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