Nick Varney, who has led Merlin Entertainment, owner of Legoland and other attractions into one of the largest players in the attractions industry, has announced his intention to retire from the holding company he created in 1999.
Merlin was formed in 1999 following the £47m Management Buyout of Vardon Entertainments led by Nick, who subsequently became CEO of the rebranded group. Since then, Nick has grown the business from 19 attractions to a global attractions company operating 140 attractions, 23 hotels and 6 holiday villages in 24 countries and across 4 continents. During this period, it grew EBITDA from £7m to £569m pre-pandemic, the company said in the press release announcing his retirement.
The company will start a 12-month notice period during which the company board will find another CEO to lead the company, from a mix of internal and external candidates. Mark Fisher, Chief Development Officer, has also decided to retire in the same time period.
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