NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS) announced this afternoon that it is replacing current CEO and President Jim Atchison with Chairman David D'Alessandro who will act as interim CEO, effective January 15, 2015, until a permanent successor is found.
Shares of SeaWorld were higher by 2.88% to $16.09 before the market close on Thursday, and are now up by 0.93% to $16.24 in after-hours trading.
The animals for entertainment and theme park company said Atchison will become vice chairman of the board, and continue to serve as a consultant to the company.
Additionally, SeaWorld announced a plan to advance its previously disclosed company-wide cost initiative, which includes a plan to deliver approximately $50 million of annual cost savings by the end of 2015.
This afternoon SeaWorld revealed its restructuring program across its entire 11-park enterprise. The company said the effort will "centralize some operations, reduce duplication of functions and increase efficiencies, and accelerate execution."
The plan will involve job cuts, but SeaWorld did not say which positions will be lost.
"In order to achieve the goals of our business realignment, we regret that some positions will necessarily be eliminated. However, our cost savings effort is part of a broader program to position us for long term growth," Atchison said.
SeaWorld makes the announcement regarding its administration change as it closes out what has been a year full of criticism, relating to the company's alleged mistreatment of its signature attraction, performing killer whales or orcas.