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Published: Friday, 4/22/2011

Shareholder questions Cedar Fair's CEO plans

Firm's ability to pick executive questioned


SANDUSKY -- Cedar Fair LP's largest shareholder, which has asked for the resignations of two board members of the Sandusky amusement park firm, said in a regulatory filing Thursday that it has no confidence in the board's ability to pick a successor for Chief Executive Dick Kinzel, who plans to retire this year.

Q Investments, which has an 18.1 percent stake in Cedar Fair and has forced a May 24 special meeting to allow shareholders to vote on the ability to nominate board members, said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has received reports that the board has considered Mark Shapiro as a possible replacement for Mr. Kinzel.

Mr. Shapiro was the chief executive at rival chain Six Flags Inc. from 2005 through June, 2009, when the rival amusement park company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 2010, when the company emerged from bankruptcy, Mr. Shapiro was removed and Al Weber, Jr. was named interim CEO. Shortly afterward, Jim Reid-Anderson, a health-care industry advisor, was named CEO.

In its letter, Q Investments asks why Cedar Fair would "consider the executive [Mr. Shapiro] who oversaw the decline in earnings that brought the company into bankruptcy rather than someone like Jim Reid-Anderson, the outstanding new CEO of Six Flags, who has overseen the company during its Phoenixlike rebirth."

A spokesman for Cedar Fair said the company was unlikely to comment on the letter by Q Investments.

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