Cedar Fair Taps Former Disney Executive for CEO Spot

Amusement and water parks operator Cedar Fair (NYSE:FUN) is hiring former Disney (NYSE:DIS) executive Matthew Ouimet to serve as its new CEO when current head Dick Kinzel retires next year.

Effective immediately, Ouimet, 53, will become president of Cedar, subsequently replacing Kinzel, 70, as chief executive upon his retirement on January 3.

A 20-year veteran of the amusement park and hospitality industry, Ouimet has spent 17 years with Disney, where he served as chief financial officer of Disney Development, executive general manger of Disney Vacation Club, president of Disney Cruise Line and president of Disneyland Resort, among others.

In 2006 he was recruited to serve as the president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:HOT), where he oversaw 900 owned, managed and franchised hotel properties in 95 countries. In 2008 he joined Corinthian Colleges (NASDAQ:COCO), as publicly-held, post-secondary education company, as chief operating officer.

Without question, Matt is the right leader to join Cedar Fair now as it builds momentum on its renewed path of sustained, profitable growth in 2011 and beyond, said Tom Harvie, Cedars independent chairman.

In addition to his new role, Ouimet will continue serving on the board of Collective Brands (NYSE:PSS), a retail giant with a portfolio of recognized footwear brands including Payless and Saucony.

In a statement, the Sandusky, Ohio-based amusement park chain thanked Kinzel for his years of dedication to Cedar. The current chief executive joined the Cedar Point amusement park in 1972 and was appointed CEO of its parent, Cedar Fair, in 1986, a year before the company started trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Kinzel also served as chairman of the board from 2003 to 2010.