Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi To Step Down At Year-End, Staying On Board As COO Sean Gamble Takes Reins Next January

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi To Step Down At Year-End, Staying On Board As COO Sean Gamble Takes Reins Next January

Cinemark, the No. 3 U.S. exhibitor, said CEO Mark Zoradi will retire at the end of 2021, staying on the board and handing top-exec reins to CFO and COO Sean Gamble.

Zoradi, who had a lengthy run as a Disney distribution exec before crossing over to the theater side, will stay on the company’s board until 2024. At that point, he will become eligible for election in the manner of all members of the board, who are selected at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Gamble has been named president as of today, the company said, and Zoradi will work closely with him as well as other executives to ensure a smooth transition.

An EVP and CFO at Universal Pictures before joining Cinemark, Gamble also held several exec posts at General Electric earlier in his career. Working with Zoradi, he has helped solidify Cinemark’s financials and putting it in a more advantageous position than debt-laden AMC or other circuits, which has helped it weather Covid-19.

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The search for Gamble’s successor as CFO is currently underway, the company said.

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“Serving as Cinemark’s CEO during the past six years has truly been the highlight of my career,” Zoradi said. “While I’ve been in the industry for more than four decades, the vast majority was spent on the studio side of the business. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed participating in all aspects of theatrical exhibition and will treasure the time spent and deep connections established with the Cinemark team, as well as the many other industry relationships formed around the world.”

Zoradi called Gamvke a “tremendous partner in overseeing Cinemark’s operational execution and strategic vision, as well as effectively navigating the prolonged effects of Covid-19.”

With the exhibition industry on the path to recovering from the worst of the pandemic’s damage, Zoradi said, he felt the timing was right to pass the baton. “I have full confidence in Sean’s leadership abilities,” he added, “particularly with the strength and depth of the executive team, and I look forward to continuing our relationship in my board director capacity.”

Lee Roy Mitchell, Cinemark founder and executive chairman, said. “We are grateful for Mark and the significant impact he has made on our company, and our industry, during his tenure as CEO. Mark reinvigorated a culture of innovation and evolution in our company, challenging the teams’ line of thought and rationale, all while staying steady at the helm when our industry needed him most. We are thrilled that Cinemark will continue to benefit from Mark’s background, business expertise and perspective as an ongoing member of our Board.”

As CEO, Gamble said, “I will aim to continue building upon Cinemark’s over 35-year history of growth, industry leadership and entertaining guests through an unparalleled cinematic experience. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our exceptional leadership team and Board of Directors as we drive a wide range of consumer-facing and productivity initiatives that will position Cinemark for ongoing success in the evolving media and entertainment landscape.”

Along with the change at the top, Cinemark upped Wanda Gierhart Fearing to Chief Marketing and Content Officer, Damian Wardle to EVP Theatre & Technology Operations, and Sid Srivastava to EVP Human Resources, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility.