ORLANDO -- SeaWorld
Parks and Entertainment is planning to eliminate hundreds of jobs.
The company confirmed the layoffs shortly after noon Thursday, calling it a "restructuring," which will allow the parks to allow them to operate more efficiently.
Officials said the cuts affect less than 2 percent of its workforce.
The company said it will eliminate 350 jobs around the country. A report earlier Thursday said that will include 129 jobs at SeaWorld's Orlando parks.
The layoffs follow a poor year for SeaWorld, where attendance, sales and profits have slumped amid a soft economy, a lack of new attractions, and negative publicity stemming from the February death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau.
The company said it will alert the affected employees over the next two days.
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment issued the following press release Thursday:
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment today began implementation of an operational restructuring that will affect most of the company’s 10 parks and its Orlando headquarters.
“This restructuring will allow us to operate more efficiently and better position us for long-term growth and independence,” said Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our primary goal is to eliminate some of the duplication of responsibility that affects performance, innovation and our ability to execute quickly.”
The restructuring plan will result in a small number of job losses; less than 2 percent of the company’s total peak workforce.
“It is an unfortunate, but necessary, consequence of a restructuring of this sort that positions will be lost,” Atchison said. The restructuring will result in the elimination of about 350 salaried and hourly positions. At peak SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment employs 20,000 people in five states: Florida, California, Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
“On December 1, 2009, we separated from Anheuser-Busch InBev and began the complex and challenging process of remaking ourselves as an independent company. Restructuring our operation is part of that process,” Atchison said.
All employees affected by the restructuring will receive severance benefits. They will be informed over the next two days.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment owns and operates SeaWorld parks in Orlando, Fla., San Diego, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla., and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Adventure Island in Tampa; Water Country USA in Willliamsburg and Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa., near Philadelphia.