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Merlin promotes Fiona Eastwood to chief operating officer


Merlin Entertainments has named Fiona Eastwood as chief operating officer for its midway attractions and resort theme parks divisions.

Eastwood joined Merlin as global marketing director of Midway Attractions in 2015.

She is now responsible for the management and strategic growth of Merlin’s popular resort theme parks across the UK and Europe. The portfolio includes Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Warwick Castle (in the UK), Gardaland (Italy) and Heide Park (Germany).

She will also oversee Midway brands such as Sea Life aquariums, Madame Tussauds, Dungeons, as well as iconic destinations such the London Eye, the Blackpool Ballroom and Tower, and LEGO Discovery Centres.

In her role, Eastwood will work closely with current MD of resort theme parks, Ian Crabbe, who will continue to work across the resort theme parks before his planned retirement in 2024.

Eastwood said: "I’m passionate about making Merlin the greatest place to work. I will continue to bring my curiosity and love for this business and combined that with a commitment to delivering a diverse, inclusive, and engaged culture, that empowers teams to deliver joyful guest experiences and achieve brilliant results.

"We have the very best set of current brands to build and develop and an amazing pipeline of IP that will transform our growth strategy across both our Midway and Resort divisions.

"I also recognise my important role as a female leader, both here at Merlin but also across the attractions industry. I have found that being my genuine self, combined with hard work and a focus on getting the very best from people is what makes the true difference.”

Eastwood’s promotion follows the appointment of Scott O’Neil as Merlin CEO in November.

O’Neil took over the leadership role following the retirement of Nick Varney, who developed Merlin from small beginnings as Vardon, to a multi-brand global attractions business with a diversified portfolio.

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