ORLANDO, Fla. — SeaWorld Entertainment has turned to a cruise-industry executive to be its new CEO.

Gustavo "Gus" Antorcha will take over as chief executive and join the board of directors effective February 18, the company announced Tuesday.

The former interim CEO, John T. Reilly, was appointed chief operating officer.

Antorcha was most recently chief operating officer of Carnival Cruise Lines and had been with the company for more than eight years. Before that, he was a partner and director at Boston Consulting Group, a management consulting firm, where he worked with clients in the travel and leisure industries.

"Gus helped deliver strong financial results and improved guest satisfaction at Carnival by leading efforts to optimize pricing, improve onboard marketing and communications, introduce new guest experiences and drive capital and cost efficiencies," SeaWorld Board Chairman Yoshikazu Maruyama said in a written statement.

SeaWorld reported steady increases in revenue and earnings last year, including an almost 10 percent increase in visitors at its 12 parks during the summer season, according to a November earnings report. Revenue was also up 9.5 percent over the first nine months of 2018. 

The company continues to turn its focus away from the orca and sea life shows to rides and a message of animal welfare conservation since its image took a hit with the release of the documentary Blackfish.

SeaWorld is making a push to open new rides and attractions each year. It recently opened a family-friendly water ride, Infinity Falls, at its Orlando park. It also plans to open a Sesame Street-themed land in the spring.

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