Mark Woodbury, vice chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts and president, Universal Creative, will become chairman and chief executive officer upon the retirement of current chairman Tom Williams, the company has announced.
Williams will retire effective 16 March 2022. Woodbury will step into his new role effective 1 January 2022.
Tom Williams has worked in tourism for more than 50 years – moving to Orlando in 1988 to open Universal Studios Florida. After being named the park’s president in 1990, he transformed Orlando into a destination with multiple parks, hotels and an entertainment complex. He was named Chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts in 1999 and continued to lead the expansion of Universal theme parks – including across the globe – with theme park destinations in Osaka, Singapore and Beijing.
Williams’ tenure as Chairman and CEO has seen consistent and dramatic growth in both attendance and revenue. He has led development of groundbreaking theme park rides, immersive lands, such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Super Nintendo World, and entire destinations – most recently Universal Beijing Resort.
“Tom’s journey has been the journey of Parks itself,” said Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation, parent company for NBCUniversal and Universal Parks & Resorts. “His vision and leadership has made parks a vital and vibrant business and has helped define modern theme park entertainment for us and the entire industry.”
Mr. Woodbury has been with Universal more than 30 years. As vice chairman, he has been responsible for all planning and design strategy for Universal Parks & Resorts worldwide. And in his role as president of Universal Creative, he has led design and creation for all Universal ride experiences, themed lands, destination hotels, CityWalk entertainment complexes and theme parks. Most recently, Mr. Woodbury oversaw creation of Universal Studios Beijing.
“Mark has unique and essential insight into everything that makes Universal Parks & Resorts successful,” said Jeff Shell, chief executive officer, of NBCUniversal. “Beyond his ability to create incredibly innovative guest experiences, he has tremendous experience with strategy, financials, stewardship of the Universal Parks brand and so much more. He has also been a key part of planning for the future of Universal Parks & Resorts. All this makes him perfect for this role.”