Grand Prairie-based Six Flags Entertainment said Tuesday that Chief Executive Officer John Duffey stepped down after 17 months on the job for “personal reasons.” His predecessor, Executive Chairman Jim Reid-Anderson, was immediately named to replace him.
The company’s stock fell after Six Flags announced that Duffey, 56, was retiring, without elaborating. No medical or other reason drove Duffey’s decision, Treasurer Stephen Purtell Purtell said in an interview Tuesday.
“Once he made the decision to leave, the board decided to move quickly and asked Jim to lead the company again,” Purtell said. “We are fortunate to have Jim leading our team.”
The abrupt departure spooked investors. Shares of Six Flags dropped $2.04 a share, or 3.5 percent, to close at $57.01. The stock hit an all-time intraday high of $65.19 in April.
The company operates 20 parks, including Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, and had revenue of $1.3 billion last year.
Reid-Anderson, 58, who led the company for more than five years, relinquished the role of CEO to Duffey in February 2016. The two men worked together at Dade Behring Holdings, where Reid-Anderson was CEO and Duffey chief financial officer until November 2007.
Poor weather and data on guest spending suggest second-quarter results may be lower than Wall Street estimates, Stifel analyst Steven M. Wieczynski said in a July 11 note. The company is scheduled to report second-quarter results next week.
Analysts have been forecasting an increase to 73 cents a share, excluding some items, from 64 cents a year earlier, with revenue growing more than 8 percent to $440.9 million.
“A quick survey of prevailing weather conditions, particularly along the Eastern seaboard, suggests unfavorable weather may have gotten the 2017 summer operating season off to a slower than anticipated start,” the analyst wrote. He also said the company may be experiencing lower credit-card activity as more guests buy annual passes instead of daily admissions.