ORLANDO, Fla. – Several executives at SeaWorld have been granted stock awards amid park closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • SeaWorld grants stock awards to executives
  • Awards, brought to light in SEC filing, total $6.8 million
  • Parks temporarily closed due to coronavirus pandemic

The awards were approved by the board's compensation committee earlier this week and disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released Tuesday.

In the filing, Orlando-based SeaWorld said the incentives were "designed to recognize employees for their extraordinary contributions and continued expected contributions to the Company and its long-term goals during the global COVID-19 pandemic."

In total, the committee approved just over $6.8 million in stock awards, which will fully vest after two years.

Each executive was awarded a different amount. Here's a breakdown of the awards:

Interim CEO Marc Swanson will receive $1.5 million in stock awards. Chief Operating Officer Walter Bogumil will receive $1.3 million, Chief Legal Officer G. Anthony Taylor will receive $1.18 million, Chief Zoological Officer Christopher Dold will receive $975,000, interim Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Gulacsy $937,500, and chief Human Resources Officer Sharon Nadeau will receive $910,000.

The awards are contingent on the executives' continued employment with the company. 

"The restricted stock units will vest 50% on each of the first two anniversaries of the grant date, subject to the recipient’s continued employment on each such vesting date with the number of units determined based upon the volume weighted share price over the 10 previous trading days," the SEC filing said.

Earlier this month, SeaWorld said its executives would take a 20% pay cut.

The news comes just weeks after SeaWorld furloughed over 90 percent of its workers without pay or benefits. "The impact of this pandemic on our business, and the theme park industry, is unexpected, sudden and truly extraordinary," SeaWorld said in statement sent to workers. "This decision was not made lightly."

The company recently went through yet another leadership change. Its newest CEO, Sergio Rivera, resigned after five months on the job, citing "disagreements" with the board as the reason for his departure.

SeaWorld's parks, which include Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, have been closed since mid-March because of the pandemic.