Universal Orlando President Bill Davis will be retiring on January 1, 2022, following 15 years with the company. Universal Hollywood President Karen Irwin will replace Davis.
Davis is the second longtime executive to announce retirement from Universal Orlando this year. Previously, Chair and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts Tom Williams announced that he will retire in March after more than 50 years with the company.
Throughout Davis’s tenure, Universal Orlando saw extensive expansion.
Universal Studios made changes to several attractions, including adding The Simpsons ride and world, Fast & Furious: Supercharged, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, and Transformers: The Ride 3D. Islands of Adventure made several refurbishments and added attractions such as Skull Island: Reign of Kong and the VelociCoaster. In addition, Universal’s Volcano Bay was constructed as well as several new resorts, including the latest Universal’s Endless Summer Resort.
Perhaps the most successful venture under Davis’s leadership was the construction and opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal Orlando now has two different Harry Potter Worlds– Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios– that are connected by the Hogwarts Express train.
Williams said that Davis has had a constant presence in the parks and that he will be remembered for his hands-on approach.
“His passion for our business, for our team members and for excellence have inspired all of us,” he said in a statement. “Orlando team members know Bill has been a constant presence in our parks – and I will always remember my frequent walks through the parks with Bill as we reviewed our business and, more importantly, built our friendship.”
Irwin, who will be replacing Davis starting January 1, has more than 30 years of experience with Universal and started her career in Orlando. She recently oversaw the creation and development of The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash attraction at Universal Hollywood, which received an Outstanding Achievement award from the Themed Entertainment Association last month.
Tom Mehrmann, president of the recently opened Universal Beijing Resort in China, will step into a newly created position leading the Pacific Rim of Universal Parks & Resorts, which will see him oversee Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan, and Universal Beijing Resort.
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