Six Flags' Latest White Knuckler: Thomas Out, Rabjohn In
Jay Thomas, the popular President of Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, was relieved of his duties at the park on Monday, in a sweep that company officials are calling a “new paradigm for park leadership.”
Thomas told KHTS that he has received a verbal offer for a position with Six Flags Corporate in Dallas and that he is in the process of “working through the details” of that position. With many of the Thomas clan already calling Dallas home, the opportunity definitely weighs into his considerations.
Thomas was one of three park presidents affected by the change; Mark Kane from Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey and Eric Gilbert of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Northern California were also removed from office.
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“We believe that the company would best be served by turning to individuals with diverse skills that will allow them to drive success in every facet of our business. These changes at the Park President level are designed to increase focus, resolve and acumen at our key locations,” wrote Al Weber Jr., Six Flags’ Chief Operating Officer in a memo.
Bonnie Rabjohn, who previously headed Magic Mountain’s public relations and marketing departments, will assume the Park President position effective immediately.
“Bonnie is one of the strongest, most talented and aggressive park marketing people in the industry, and has a proven track record of success in the highly competitive Southern California market. We believe she is well-suited for the particular challenges of this park,” Weber continued.
Thomas became Magic Mountain’s President in September 2007, coming from Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville. His story of working his way up from ride operator to park president was the inspirational cornerstone of a job shadowing program sponsored by the SCV School to Business Alliance and he welcomed anyone who wanted to learn about the amusement park business to walk the park at his side.
He focused his efforts on turning the park into a more family-friendly place, presiding over the opening of Thomas the Tank Engine Town in 2008, along with other projects, including the Cyber Café, the SkyTower museum and launching the X2 and Tatsu roller coasters. Thomas also opened the park’s newest wooden rollercoaster, Terminator: Salvation, based on the film of the same name, in summer 2009.
Like any other business, there were a few setbacks recently, including the delay of opening the Mr. Six Dance Coaster, which was put off until spring due to permitting problems and the park recently closed down Superman: The Ride for renovations.
Thomas also became an active participant on the community nonprofit scene, chairing the 2010 Boys and Girls Club auction, being roasted by the Elks Lodge to raise money for the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center and serving on more than 20 community charity boards.
The company had just released its second quarter report, noting that revenues increased by seven percent for the second quarter and the first six months of 2010, driven by increases in attendance and sponsorship.