MADISON, WI – Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. announced today that Kim Schaefer, currently the company’s president and chief operating officer, will become chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2009. Randy Churchey, who has served as the company’s interim chief executive officer since May 2008, will resign from that position on January 1, 2009 and remain as a director on the company’s board.
“Kim has been instrumental in the development and evolution of Great Wolf Lodge as a premier, national, family-oriented brand, and I am pleased to announce that she will continue to guide that growth as CEO,” said chairman of the board Joe Vittoria. “Kim’s vision for providing a great guest experience, involvement in the development process for our new resorts, passion in truly living our brand every day, and demonstrated ability to lead, make her the ideal choice for this new role. We thank Randy for his contributions and leadership over the past few months in his role as interim chairman and look forward to a smooth transition.” Vittoria added that Churchey’s day-to-day experiences working with management, team members will continue to provide value to the company’s board.
In her new role, Schaefer’s responsibilities will include providing strategic direction to the company’s development team, including licensing arrangements and joint ventures as an effective use of equity capital as the company seeks to expand the geographic reach of its brand, both domestically and internationally. Most recently, she oversaw the expansion of the breadth of amenities and the addition of conference centers at several of the company’s resorts, which resulted in significant occupancy gains this year.
Schaefer has served in various leadership positions for the company since its inception, first serving as senior vice president of operations at its predecessor in 1996. She has more than 20 years of accounting and hotel operating experience, and holds a BS in accounting from Edgewood College in Madison where she sits on the advisory board for the school of business.