Merlin Entertainments, Europe’s largest and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, today announces the appointment of 25-year sports and entertainment industry veteran Scott M. O’Neil as Chief Executive Officer, effective 15 November 2022. O’Neil will be responsible for overseeing the business operations and global growth for Merlin Entertainments across its 147 attractions in 24 countries. O’Neil’s appointment comes following outgoing CEO Nick Varney’s decision to retire after 23 years.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Merlin family. There is an extraordinarily talented management team, a driven, ambitious, hardworking, team centric, can-do culture, and a board led by KIRKBI, Blackstone and CPPIB which is committed and focused on growth and driving value. Merlin partners with some of the top global brands including LEGO, Sony Pictures Entertainment and HASBRO and is a business with phenomenal tailwinds, whose purpose is to bring joy and make lasting memories for families and friends around the world.”
“Nick has built an incredible business and achieved unprecedented growth in this industry and yet there are still tremendous upside opportunities ahead to continue the momentum. We are actively building and searching for new attractions and sites. We are fortunate in that we are not constrained to a single studio or content pipeline and are seeking additional brand partners to redefine the attractions business. Merlin will also aggressively look to expand our offerings and experiences in our current attractions. I have been impressed by the talent, energy and dedication of the people at Merlin that I’ve met so far and am looking forward to working with the wider team to deliver on the exciting growth strategy.”
Scott O’Neil Chief Executive Officer designate