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HW: Matt Eckert named new President and CEO


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http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=57333

“Matt was hand-picked by my late husband, Will, to be in a leadership role at the park; I know he would be pleased with our choice,” says park vice president Lori Koch. “As president and CEO, Matt will work closely with our board to keep our family’s park flourishing.”

Eckert began his tenure with the park in 2000, when he was hired to be the park’s controller; he served as one of the park’s two general managers from 2007 to 2012. He is an International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions Certified Attractions Executive and has served on its Human Resources Committee.

I'm a little surprised someone not with the last name of Koch is in the CEO's seat, but I agree that Matt's probably the best one for the job if Dan wants to return to his lawyering. The times I've seen him in the park, he's been just as enthusiastic and warm as the rest of the Koch family.

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It is a smart move.

Too often, entitlement will determine succession in a family business, and the next in line may not be ready.

It is also good for a business to "refresh" itself with a different set of "eyes".

Rest assured, an "outsider" does not achieve this position without support of the family.

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^ That's a good point, and I do agree. Most other members of the Koch family seem to have their own businesses, careers, etc., which they'd obviously like to continue. That in turn means that the next in line would be Will's children, and I think they're a little young to step into the position of CEO, if I remember correctly. I'd rather see the family have someone they trust work as CEO than have the park pass into the hands of some third party.

(Cue a Terp post about the next of Kinz working at Carowinds in 5, 4, 3, 2... ;) )

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I`d say this is a great choice too. This guy was picked and came to the park when Will was still alive, so he clearly knows the park and the Koch family values. I was actually surprised that Dan Koch stayed up here as long as he did.

Hopefully good things come out of Holiday World in the coming years.

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I think its safe to say that Bluegrass Boardwalk certainly distracted them from their main property.

It is really amazing how Holiday World has blossomed over the years. Hopefully they can pull from a larger demographic area in the coming years. Although, some of their geographic area also is the same geographic area in which Kings Island pulls from.

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Wow. I'm shocked the a Koch is not under the helm. It was kind of an abrupt change of hands. Didn't see it coming. I should have though. From the beginning, I felt like Dan was an awkward character to have holding the reigns, Although I miss Will as a GM and as a person, I feel like Matt will be a fantastic fit for the park. Especially with the prior park experience that he has.

I am excited for the future. I see big things. BIG things.

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http://www.spencercountyjournal.com/content/control-holiday-world-stake-legal-battle

anyone else see this yet? way more to this than originally reported.

Beat me to posting that. I read it about an hour ago. This is a very sad situation for everyone involved.

Not that I knew Will, but I highly doubt that this is what Will would have wanted. (The lawsuit that is)

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I agree. I was disheartened when I heard about this. I certainly hope this doesn`t spell bad things for the park moving forward. I wonder if Pat Koch will still be at the park greeting visitors this year. Hopefully things can be amended, but the fact that Dan Koch was fired certainly doesn`t bode well. I sense some rough seas ahead.

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The article below is so sad for HOLIDAY WORLD FAMILY: Will the mom even work there, and could this be some of the battle that caused KY Kingdom to stop developement or why the family (some of them) was looking at it.

Sad when families fight over the businesses:

Oh well:

We shall see:

http://www.spencercountyjournal.com/content/control-holiday-world-stake-legal-battle

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This is definitely a sad situation all around.

A new name for RhinoBlaster has already been announced, so it seems from the outside that the new controlling interest (Will's estate, controlled by his widow) has ideas of its own. Hopefully their policy of aggressive expansion is not affected by this. (The 2013 HoliWood nights flyer, still featuring a large image of Dan, alludes to a "big" project.)

It's not clear from the article how Will's estate obtained a controlling interest, when the siblings were supposed to have equal shares.

For the curious, records of the case are at http://www.doxpop.com/prod/court/ViewCaseDetails?caseId=1816675180770 . Its next step is the Indiana Court of Appeals.

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It's definitely a very sad situation, but not unheard of in cases like this. Situations like this have forced the liquidation of more than one family business...there's also usually many sides to the full story.

It's fortunate that this isn't still the 90s with the old Six Flags management that would buy anything with the word "park" in the title.

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^ I'm sure they attempted to buy everything they could (as evidenced by what they actually did buy)...luckily back then the Koch family wasn't in the middle of a litigation that could have caused that situation to go in a very different direction...

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More details on this: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2013/jan/10/holiday-world-herp/

It seems the judge was not impressed that Will's estate's holdings were to be undervalued in the sale. Instead of deciding on a fair dollar amount, he threw out the entire agreement. (Ironically, throwing out the intent of Will himself, ruling for the estate.)

In any case, severing relations with Dan (and perhaps Pat) can't be good for the park or its staff. Hopefully the parties can reach an equitable resolution before the business is harmed.

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Once again, though I'm throughly impressed with Paula Werne's communication skills. (It's easy to frame good messaging when you're talking about a fun topic like a new ride...it's a lot harder in a situation like this.) I would think there would be a line of organizations wanting to snap her up...

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