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Nick Varney and Mark Fisher both announce retirements from Merlin Entertainments | Planet Attractions
     

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Nick Varney and Mark Fisher both announce retirements from Merlin Entertainments

Nick Varney who has led Merlin since its inception and Mark Fisher, who played a key role in the company’s formation, have both announced their intention to leave the attractions giant in 2023




Nick Varney and Mark Fisher have both been a part of Merlin since its inception in 1999   Credit: Merlin Entertainments

Merlin Entertainments has announced that its founder, Nick Varney, is set to retire as company CEO, with long-term senior management partner Mark Fisher also announcing his departure from the company.

Varney has been a part of the company since 1999 when he, alongside the senior management team of Vardon Attractions, completed a £47m (US$59m, €56m) management buyout to form Merlin Entertainments.

Since its formation, with Varney as CEO Merlin has gone from strength to strength, with the expansion of the business seeing the number of attractions rise from 19 in 1999 to more than 140 across 24 countries and four continents today. In that time, the group has also developed or acquired 23 hotels and six-holiday villages around the world, with Varney raising earnings from £7m (US$8.8m, €8.3m) a year to £569m (US$715.4m, €677.3m) a year pre-pandemic.

“Merlin has been my life for most of my career,” said Varney. “I love the people, the attractions, the visitors and the industry and I’m proud to have played my part as we built Merlin into an incredible business.”

Mark Fisher, who oversees Merlin Magic Making as chief development officer, has also announced his intention to retire, leaving in the same period as Varney.

Fisher initially joined the Tussauds Group in 1991 and later Merlin in 1996 under the Vardon name. Acting as a senior member of the management team at Merlin since the company’s inception, Fisher played a key role in the Vardon buyout. Originally group marketing director, he has also held the managing director roles in all of Merlin’s Operating Divisions.

“Nick and Mark will be in place and wholly focused for some time, and we’re fortunate to have an exceptional team in place,” said Roland Hernandez, Merlin Entertainments chair. “On behalf of the board and shareholders, we are extremely grateful to Nick and Mark for their remarkable service to the company and wish them all the best.” Varney has a 12-month notice period during which the Merlin board will identify his successor and ensure an orderly handover.

“The board is starting a process that will consider both strong internal candidates, as well as external talent,” said a Merlin statement. “The board expects that a successor will have been appointed and an orderly handover will have taken place within this period.”


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Nick Varney and Mark Fisher both announce retirements from Merlin Entertainments | Planet Attractions
news

Nick Varney and Mark Fisher both announce retirements from Merlin Entertainments

Nick Varney who has led Merlin since its inception and Mark Fisher, who played a key role in the company’s formation, have both announced their intention to leave the attractions giant in 2023




Nick Varney and Mark Fisher have both been a part of Merlin since its inception in 1999   Credit: Merlin Entertainments

Merlin Entertainments has announced that its founder, Nick Varney, is set to retire as company CEO, with long-term senior management partner Mark Fisher also announcing his departure from the company.

Varney has been a part of the company since 1999 when he, alongside the senior management team of Vardon Attractions, completed a £47m (US$59m, €56m) management buyout to form Merlin Entertainments.

Since its formation, with Varney as CEO Merlin has gone from strength to strength, with the expansion of the business seeing the number of attractions rise from 19 in 1999 to more than 140 across 24 countries and four continents today. In that time, the group has also developed or acquired 23 hotels and six-holiday villages around the world, with Varney raising earnings from £7m (US$8.8m, €8.3m) a year to £569m (US$715.4m, €677.3m) a year pre-pandemic.

“Merlin has been my life for most of my career,” said Varney. “I love the people, the attractions, the visitors and the industry and I’m proud to have played my part as we built Merlin into an incredible business.”

Mark Fisher, who oversees Merlin Magic Making as chief development officer, has also announced his intention to retire, leaving in the same period as Varney.

Fisher initially joined the Tussauds Group in 1991 and later Merlin in 1996 under the Vardon name. Acting as a senior member of the management team at Merlin since the company’s inception, Fisher played a key role in the Vardon buyout. Originally group marketing director, he has also held the managing director roles in all of Merlin’s Operating Divisions.

“Nick and Mark will be in place and wholly focused for some time, and we’re fortunate to have an exceptional team in place,” said Roland Hernandez, Merlin Entertainments chair. “On behalf of the board and shareholders, we are extremely grateful to Nick and Mark for their remarkable service to the company and wish them all the best.” Varney has a 12-month notice period during which the Merlin board will identify his successor and ensure an orderly handover.

“The board is starting a process that will consider both strong internal candidates, as well as external talent,” said a Merlin statement. “The board expects that a successor will have been appointed and an orderly handover will have taken place within this period.”


 



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