Magic Mountain president heading to Busch Gardens Tampa

Neal Thurman, the president of Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, poses for a picture in front of Green Lantern: First Flight on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/the Signal

After 25 years with Six Flags, Neal Thurman will step down as president of Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor and move east to become Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island Park president. 

He is expected to start Sept. 8 to replace current president Steward Clark and, as of Thursday, no one had been named to replace Thurman, according to Sue Carpenter, Six Flags Magic Mountain communications manager. 

“After months of careful consideration, I have made the decision to leave Six Flags in order to live and work closer to my extended family,” Thurman said in a prepared statement. “I leave with deep gratitude for the 25 years of career-building experiences and valued friendships I have had the great fortune to make with this company. I wish my colleagues all the very best.”

Thurman’s career with Six Flags dates back to 1995 in Georgia. Over time, he spent several years at the Valencia amusement park: He served as the director of operations for seven years before leaving in 2014 to serve as the park president at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Two years later he relocated to New Jersey as Six Flags Great Adventure’s park president and then returned as president of Magic Mountain in 2018. 

The announcement comes as Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor continue to remain temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at the properties, the safety of our guests, team members and animals is always our highest priority,” read a statement on Magic Mountain’s website. “We will continue to closely monitor this evolving situation, and follow the most current guidance from federal, state and local officials.”

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