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PROFILE


JIM REID-ANDERSON R


After declaring bankruptcy


in 2009, Six Flags achieved a $4m increase in revenue in the fi rst quarter of 2011. The theme park operator’s


CEO tells Kathleen Whyman how he turned the company around in just one year


eceiving a job offer to become chair, president and CEO of a company that’s just emerged


from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has US$1bn (£614m, 696m) worth of debt, probably wouldn’t sound that appealing to most people. For Jim Reid-Anderson, how- ever, it was an exciting proposition. As the world’s largest regional theme


park company with 19 parks across the US, Mexico and Canada, Six Flags Entertainment Corporation had been struggling fi nancially since the early 2000s. Despite selling off its European assets and several of its US parks, the company continued to fl ounder and eventually fi led for bankruptcy in June 2009, emerging in April 2010. Reid-Anderson was approached shortly


afterwards and began working for the com- pany in August 2010. But what was it that made this role so attractive to him? “I was a little concerned to start with because I’d read in the press that the company had had a tough fi nancial path,” Reid-Anderson explains. “But once I did the due diligence, I became rapidly convinced that joining Six Flags was a great opportunity. It has a fabulous history, a solid foundation and very dedicated employees. It just needed to adjust its thinking and priorities. “That initial assessment has been rein-


forced since I joined the company,” he continues. “This is a great company com- ing out of a stressful fi nancial situation with


(Left) Six Flags Magic Mountain has three new attractions this year, including the ride Superman, Escape From Krypton


22 Read Attractions Management online attractionsmanagement.com/digital


a tarnished external reputation. Since join- ing, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by many things, but especially the passion and tal- ent of our employees. I’ve always believed employees are a company’s greatest asset and that’s our strength at this company. We have a very bright future ahead of us.”


DEBT CORRECTOR It’s no surprise that Six Flags coveted Reid-Anderson for the role, as his previous experience proves he’s the right person for the job. Signifi cant roles in F&B and entertainment around the world taught him about consumer behaviour, the importance of innovation, understanding pricing strat- egy and customer satisfaction. Then, from 2002 to 2007 he was chair, president and CEO of Dade Behring, a medical technol- ogy company, which, in 2002, was entering a bankruptcy process similar to Six Flags. “It was a really good business with a bad balance sheet,” Reid-Anderson says prag- matically. “I took the company through that process, we emerged and went on to sell the company for $7bn (£4.4bn, 5bn) to Siemens. A large part of our success was rebuilding employee and investor pride in the company,” he continues. “It’s exactly the same at Six Flags. It’s a great company with a great brand that needs a bit of sup- port to bring it back to where it should be.” Progress has already been made, with


the company announcing an increase of $4m (£2.5m, 2.8m), or seven per cent, in revenue in the fi rst quarter of 2011 com- pared with 2010. This was as a result of a one per cent increase in attendance, an 11 per cent increase in ticket revenue and a 10 per cent increase in in-park sales.


AM 3 2011 ©cybertrek 2011


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