Joel Manby

Joel Manby

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., parent company of SeaWorld San Diego and the Aquatica water park in Chula Vista, has named Joel Manby as its new president and CEO, effective April 7.

Company officials said Manby, 55, will also join the company’s board of directors. David F. D’Alessandro, who most recently served as interim CEO, will continue to serve as SeaWorld’s chairman.

Manby is the permanent replacement for Jim Atchison, who resigned in December as president and CEO amid continuing attendance drops at SeaWorld’s theme parks, spurred in part by a controversial documentary related to the company’s handling of captive orcas.

Manby most recently was CEO of Atlanta-based Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., which owns several entertainment entities including the Dollywood theme park in Tennessee and The Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. He previously spent 20 years in the auto industry, including a stint as CEO of Saab Automobile USA.

SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS) is based in Orlando, Fla., and operates 11 theme parks nationwide.