As SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. continues to improve its competitive position, the company has announced the appointment of two executives who will help to drive the company forward.
Previously serving as Interim CEO, Marc Swanson, has guided SeaWorld through the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Swanson has been named as SeaWorld’s Chief Executive Officer. Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy, who has served in several key financial management roles within the company, has been tapped as the SeaWorld Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.
Both executives have demonstrated the professional qualifications and career achievements that have prepared them for their current roles. The SeaWorld Board of Directors, led by Founder and Managing Partner of Hill Path Capital and SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Scott Ross, unanimously approved both executives’ appointments, which are effective immediately.
Marc Swanson, SeaWorld’s Chief Executive Officer, has served in many key management roles during almost 20 years with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. Since April 2020, he has served as Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Before accepting the Interim CEO position, Mr. Swanson was the Company’s Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer since August 2017. From September 2019 to November 2019, he had also performed the Interim Chief Executive Officer functions.
Prior to those assignments, Mr. Swanson served as SeaWorld’s Chief Accounting Officer. He also previously functioned as SeaWorld’s Corporate Controller and Vice President Performance Management, Busch Entertainment Corporation’s Corporate Controller, and Sesame Place’s Vice President of Finance.
Mr. Swanson earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Purdue University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from DePaul University. Mr. Swanson is a Certified Public Accountant, and he serves on the Orlando Science Center’s Board of Trustees.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected many facets of SeaWorld’s operations. With little advance notice, then-Interim CEO Marc Swanson, the Board of Directors, and the Management Team were presented with significant operational and financial challenges.
Under Marc Swanson’s consistent leadership, and with a collaborative mindset that contributed to realizing solutions, the SeaWorld team implemented widespread business efficiencies while providing the company with increased financial flexibility. With this solid foundation, company leaders were better able to resolve the complex issues before them.
While acknowledging the entire team’s contributions during the 2021 virtual IAAPA Conference, Marc Swanson recognized Chairman Scott Ross’ exemplary leadership during a time of rapidly emerging challenges. “Our partnership with our Chairman and our other Board Members allowed our company to adjust and move forward with more creativity and nimbleness than we had before”, he reported.
Swanson added, “Having a large investor on the Board allows us to align oxur goals and move even more confidently and decisively. We were all in this together, and having our leadership team and board in constant communication certainly allowed us to address this crisis head-on.”
As the pandemic’s effects begin to lessen, SeaWorld is taking steps to expand and “normalize” its operations during the 2021 season. Chief Executive Officer Marc Swanson’s ability to navigate complex, difficult challenges with a steady hand has prepared him to confidently chart SeaWorld’s path forward.
Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy
Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy, recently named SeaWorld’s Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, has held several executive positions within the company. Joining SeaWorld in 2013, Gulacsy initially served as the Director, Financial Reporting before her 2016 promotion to the Corporate Vice President, Financial Reporting role.
Since 2017, Gulacsy has been the company’s Chief Accounting Officer. From September 2019 to November 2019, she also performed the Interim Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer functions.
Prior to joining SeaWorld, Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy held four key accounting management positions at Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. She had previously served as an Audit Manager for Ernst & Young LLP.
Ms. Gulacsy attended the University of Florida, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Accounting. She is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy serves on the IAAPA’s Audit Committee. This respected industry association supports members throughout the global attractions industry. Finally, Gulacsy contributes her professional talents to the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund Board of Directors.
These two executive appointments reflect SeaWorld’s commitment to achieving a stronger, more competitive market position. With Swanson’s proven leadership, and Gulacsy’s financial management acumen, the company is well positioned to confidently move forward.