Michael Spanos is out as Six Flags CEO, an unexpected change in leadership at the theme park chain as it inches closer to matching its pre-pandemic attendance levels.
The surprise announcement came Monday. Six Flags did not give a reason for Spanos’ departure after a two-year tenure that largely consisted of surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, but did thank him in a press release for his “tireless efforts as he successfully shepherded” the company through the health crisis.
Taking his place will be Selim Bassoul, who has served on the Six Flags board since February 2020 and the non-executive chairperson for nine months. Former Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza will become the new chair.
“I am honored to serve as the next CEO of Six Flags, and I am excited to bring the magic back to our parks. We are a company led by a purpose–to make a positive and meaningful impact on everyone Six Flags touches,” Bassoul said in a statement. “I will do my best to enable our people to fulfill their passion to make a difference, and to harness their creativity to build on a shared vision for guest satisfaction and financial growth. I am passionate about empowering employees and serving our customers, and together with our team, I know we can set up Six Flags for a new level of success in the months and years ahead.”
There was no indication that Spanos was about to depart when Six Flags announced its third quarter earnings late in October. The chain reported that in the three-month period ending October 3, attendance was at 92 percent of 2019 levels.