Merlin Entertainments has promoted its senior executive, Fiona Eastwood, to chief operating officer for both Midway attractions and Resort Theme Parks.

Merlin Entertainments

Eastwood will begin the new role with immediate effect and will be placed in charge of additional management and strategic growth of Merlin’s theme parks across the UK, including Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Warwick Castle. She will also oversee Gardaland in Italy and Heide Park in Germany, as well as Midway brands Sea Life aquariums, Madame Tussauds, Dungeons and the London Eye.

She was previously chief operating office of Global Midway Attractions since 2019, after joining Merlin as global marketing director for Midway Attractions in 2015.

Scott O’Neil, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, said: “I am thrilled that Fiona has been promoted to this new wider remit. Fiona brings with her a passion for the business alongside outstanding expertise in leading brands and IPs, which is second to none.

“Fiona has built a reputation throughout the live attractions and theme parks industry as a world class leader, extraordinary business driver and respected developer of a diverse and talented people-first culture. Under Fiona's expanded leadership, Merlin will continue its focus on efficiently building world class attractions with the best IP in the world, an obsession on the guest experience and a laser focus on effective marketing at our core. Throughout Merlin she is celebrated for her work ethic, drive and people-first focus, and her continued ascent will not be a surprise to anyone who has the privilege to work with her.”

Eastwood commented: “I’m passionate about making Merlin the greatest place to work. I will continue to bring my curiosity and love for this business and combined that with a commitment to delivering a diverse, inclusive, and engaged culture that empowers teams to deliver joyful guest experiences and achieve brilliant results.

“We have the very best set of current brands to build and develop and an amazing pipeline of IP that will transform our growth strategy across both our Midway and Resort divisions. I’m looking forward to working closely again with Ian and Sabrina (UK and European RTP leads) alongside their excellent teams and I can’t wait to get out to meet the teams in person. I also recognise my important role as a female leader, both here at Merlin but also across the attractions industry. I have found that being my genuine self, combined with hard work and a focus on getting the very best from people is what makes the true difference.”

Eastwood will work closely with the current managing director of Resort Theme Parks, Ian Crabbe, who is due to retire in 2024.