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Cedar Fair Corporate Development Discussion Thread (FUN)

P. 70: Cedar Fair unveils 2022 operating season plans

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^Exactly. If a CEO's performance really improves a company's product, why shouldn't that CEO get a hefty raise? I think Ouimet deserves it--but there have been far too many cases of CEOs actually who hurt their companies, but still pull base salaries far larger than Ouimet's.

 

I just hope he keeps up the good work and the Cedar Fair parks continue to improve.

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I, too, think it's great that Ouimet is staying on board for Cedar Fair! Although there are still some minor things that can always be improved, his direction has made a positive impact on the company, particularly Great America. While Kinzel was running the show, it's easy to see that he had every intention of selling CGA (did he even want the park in the first place?), which could very well have put the park out of business. However, once Ouimet stepped in, he was able to start turning things around.

 

For CGA specifically, the most major contribution under his reign is, of course, the smash hit Gold Striker, which has had an incredibly successful first season (despite some minor problems regarding sound, only to the fault of the office buildings nearby). In addition to this, the park has received a good amount of TLC, whether it be a fresh coat of paint on many of the buildings, the newly paved parking lot, or even plenty of new landscaping, the park is looking better than it has in years!

 

I have not visited any other Cedar Fair parks, but if Ouimet is treating the rest of the parks in the chain with the same amount of love given to CGA, I can only see good things to come in the future for this chain.

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I have seen much bitching about his $50K increase on other sites. I do not believe that is really all that drastic and unheard of in the CEO world. Especially with one that has been as successful as Matt. Hell, the CEO of Karnival probably makes more.

You're absolutely right. When I saw the amount, I was shocked. They are getting him CHEAP! Especially when you look at this list: http://www.aflcio.org/Corporate-Watch/CEO-Pay-and-You/100-Highest-Paid-CEOs

 

EDIT: Yeah, check this out...

 

As Chairman of the Board & CEO at CARNIVAL CORP/PLC (GBR) in 2012, Micky Arison made $6,348,335 in total compensation. Of this total $906,400 was received as a salary, $1,524,907 was received as a bonus, $0 was received in stock options, $3,501,074 was awarded as stock and $415,954 came from other types of compensation. This information is according to proxy statements filed for the 2012 fiscal year.

 

 

Micky? I was thinking that was something that somebody would have to slip me in order to get me on a Karnival Klassy Kruise!

 

Seriously though...very glad to hear about the extension and getting him at a "reasonable" CEO salary. I really like what Matt has done and look forward to what he will do in the next few years with Cedar Fair.

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Why did everybody hate Dick Kinzel, anyways?

 

In my opinion time passed him by and he was close minded regarding ideas that could grow the company. i.e.: reluctance to implement a skip the line system.

 

Horrible business decision regarding to the price Cedar Fair paid for the Paramount Parks.

 

He was in favor of just giving up on the company (selling to Apollo Group) when Cedar Fair was so close to turning the business around.

 

Many people think he treated the Cleveland market unfairly with Geauga Lake.

 

Personally, I had no problem with him favoring Cedar Point since it is clearly the flagship park of the chain, but others did not like that attitude.

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Why did everybody hate Dick Kinzel, anyways?

 

In my opinion time passed him by and he was close minded regarding ideas that could grow the company. i.e.: reluctance to implement a skip the line system.

 

Horrible business decision regarding to the price Cedar Fair paid for the Paramount Parks.

 

He was in favor of just giving up on the company (selling to Apollo Group) when Cedar Fair was so close to turning the business around.

 

Many people think he treated the Cleveland market unfairly with Geauga Lake.

 

Personally, I had no problem with him favoring Cedar Point since it is clearly the flagship park of the chain, but others did not like that attitude.

 

Yeah, I never hated Kinzel, and he did some really good things for the company while he was there. However, there were definitely some decisions that some would argue were bad, and I think the change in leadership/vision has been good for the chain.

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He was the leader of the "good old boys club." That whole group of executives had let time pass them by and just wanted to jump ship with the Apollo buyout when they knew trouble was ahead.

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Why did everybody hate Dick Kinzel, anyways?

 

From my experience...I preferred Kinzel not to run Cedar Fair as my home park (CGA) was pretty much on its death bed when it was nearly sold to JMA (which I feel like they'd just use the park for money for their other properties. Kinzel was close-minded and was an element to why we didn't see Gold Striker or any kind of improvements, was unwilling to work with the neighboring stadium and eventually gave up with the park.

 

Ouimett on the other hand...this park has made a huge directional change for the better...bigger budget for park improvements and park upkeep. I feel like if JMA were there, many of the rides would begin to run poorly...Grizzly would return to its former painful self

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In regards to Kinzel I honestly think things got stall and instead of stepping down or changing it he let it continue. He did some amazing things in regards to growing the company (and the rides - let's not forget he was the man who pushed for Magnum to be higher, thought up Dragster on Millennium Force's opening day, etc). However he was the first CEO of the company and held that position for well over 20 years - I'm a firm believer that no institution should be ran by the same leader for that long - it just doesn't foster new ideas.

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I have seen much bitching about his $50K increase on other sites. I do not believe that is really all that drastic and unheard of in the CEO world. Especially with one that has been as successful as Matt. Hell, the CEO of Karnival probably makes more.

You're absolutely right. When I saw the amount, I was shocked. They are getting him CHEAP! Especially when you look at this list: http://www.aflcio.org/Corporate-Watch/CEO-Pay-and-You/100-Highest-Paid-CEOs

 

EDIT: Yeah, check this out...

 

As Chairman of the Board & CEO at CARNIVAL CORP/PLC (GBR) in 2012, Micky Arison made $6,348,335 in total compensation. Of this total $906,400 was received as a salary, $1,524,907 was received as a bonus, $0 was received in stock options, $3,501,074 was awarded as stock and $415,954 came from other types of compensation. This information is according to proxy statements filed for the 2012 fiscal year.

 

True but compensation for an external CEO like Matt can not be objectively compared with Arison. His family owns 47% of all Carnival stock. And likely has half of the seats on the board. It is not apples to apples at all.

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Why did everybody hate Dick Kinzel, anyways?

 

In my opinion time passed him by and he was close minded regarding ideas that could grow the company. i.e.: reluctance to implement a skip the line system.

 

Horrible business decision regarding to the price Cedar Fair paid for the Paramount Parks.

 

He was in favor of just giving up on the company (selling to Apollo Group) when Cedar Fair was so close to turning the business around.

 

Many people think he treated the Cleveland market unfairly with Geauga Lake.

 

Personally, I had no problem with him favoring Cedar Point since it is clearly the flagship park of the chain, but others did not like that attitude.

 

I heard the rumors were that there was a fairly heated bidding war for the former Paramount Park chain back in 2006. It appears that Kinzel was determined to gain control of those parks and he did, at a price.

 

Course, that was during the economic boom years and I assume the Cedar Fair leadership back then felt that it could deal with the debt as long as the country's economic juggernaut was rolling along. Then, 1 1/2 years later, the economy bottomed out and Cedar Fair was left with a massive debt load with high interest rate loans. I kind of reminds me of those unfortunate people who bought real estate/homes at inflated prices and now that property is not worth the amount they paid for them. I think Cedar Fair was "Underwater" when it came to the debt load taken on for the Paramount Parks. I sometimes wonder if the net worth of the former Paramount Park chain today is really $400-$500 million dollars less than what Cedar Fair paid for it back in 2006.

 

It sounds like the previous Cedar Fair leadership was getting uncomfortable with being stuck with that debt load and was looking at Apollo to "bail them out". The major unit holder, (can't remember their name), fought tooth and nail to keep the sale to Apollo from happening. Finally, Kinzel was on his way out and Quimet on his way in. About 2/3rd's of the Cedar Fair board is new as compared to 2 years ago. Cedar Fair appears to have re-financed most, if not all of the outstanding debt; at much lower interest rates. I am sure that is helping them pay down the principal debt load faster.

 

But, Cedar Fair still has a lot of debt over its head and I think it will be another 8-10 years before they have turned the corner on the debt load. I keep hearing that they wanted to do so much more in capital improvements throughout the park chain; but, Quimet and the board are keeping a tight fist on spending right now. I think that is the prudent thing to do at the moment and it reflects in the unit pricing that is now around 4 times the price it was trading at 2 years ago. Hopefully, as the debt goes down, Cedar Fair can increase the amount allocated to capital improvements.

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I think, for me, the mark of a "big change" was when they implemented Fast Lane--definitely improves your Cedar Fair park experience.

 

That was a true break from the Kinzel era.

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I hope that I've got the right thread. Maybe Knott's would be more appropriate. But here goes.

 

I need some information to help make a decision.

 

We're thinking about buying a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass for 2014. According to the CF sites, the $180 price offer ends today.

 

We're visiting Knott's next month and the 2014 Platinum Pass allows one visit in 2013.

 

I think it pays to get it if we also visit Canada's Wonderland, California's Great America, and Kings Island next year to get the credits we're missing at those parks, but it would help me if I knew what the admission fees were at those parks.

 

Does anyone know the approximate online ticket price for those three parks this past season? If you know the parking price too, that would be a bonus. I've been assuming $40 and $15 for my calculations. If the prices are higher in reality, then the the Pass makes sense.

 

However, we have another concern. If we buy the 2014 Platinum Pass online, will we be able to get it processed at Knott's during our visit in November? If not, we would have to get it processed at one of the other parks, and I'm afraid that it might be a hassle getting a pass purchased on Knott's website processed at another park. Knott's had problems even allowing us entry with our Dorney Platinum passes some years ago. Have they improved their national pass processing issues? Six Flags had no problem letting us process Great Adventure passes at SFOTx once.

 

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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