Six Flags, Inc.: The 2006 Business Turnaround

1706 words - 7 pages

Introduction
Six Flags Entertainment Corp is the world’s second largest amusement park operator in the world after Disneyworld (Hoover's Company Profiles, 2014). It is the world’s largest amusement park corporation in terms of the number of parks and assets owned as it operates 18 parks in the United States alone, with an additional 11 parks in Europe, Canada and Mexico (Hoover's Company Profiles, 2014). It was founded by Angus Wynne, an oil baron, in 1961, and endured and grown exponentially since (Six Flags Inc., 2011).
The Six Flags parks enjoy guest visits of up to 24 million a year who throng them for the theme parks, thrill and water parks as well as the family entertainment offered. The Corp also has licensing agreements with D.C Comics and Warner Bros. that affords them exclusive rights to world renowned cartoon characters and super heroes like Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Batman and Robin (Hoover's Company Profiles, 2014). They are great crowd pullers of families as children adore these cartoon characters and show up for the meet and greet sessions with the characters as well as purchase custom merchandise of them.
Strategy is the name of the ultimate game when it comes to business. Proper crafting and execution of strategy is what differentiates the bigwigs and small fish of any industry. As at 2006, Six Flags was a sinking ship. They were making losses every year and was neck-deep in debt; a situation that threatened to relegate the giant corporation to its knees. Daniel Snyder, the owner of Washington Redskins and Red Zone LLC and a major shareholder at the time, declared a proxy war on the board of directors as he and Bill Gates, yet another major shareholder, were not amused by the company’s frail situation (Hyman, 2006). It was a bleak situation for the giant and the loss of a fifth of its value at the New York Stock Exchange seemed like the last nail to its coffin.
Strategy Policies: The Turnaround
Dan Snyder’s roots in direct marketing have been greatly attributed to his proxy fight win with the management of Six Flags. As a result, more than 57% of Six Flags shareholders voted to remove Kieran Burke as the chief executive, James Dannhauser as financial officer and Stanley Schuman from the director position (Magill, 2006). Following his success, he managed to overhaul the old crop of directors and installed fresh blood into the company. However, that did not do much to alleviate the situation the company was in. They still in debt and there was the new issue of inexperienced management arising. Therefore, Mark Shapiro, the Chairman, President and CEO at the time, undertook a very ambitious strategic venture to rescue the company from an almost assured disaster. His strategy was three-tiered: to close down the less productive theme parks; work on increasing spending from guests; and implementing stronger sales techniques. All this stemmed from the challenges they faced at the time, which ranged from massive debt, managerial issues...

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