Monday 6 January 2020 6:59 pm

Alton Towers-owner Merlin Entertainments searches for new chair

The owner of Alton Towers has launched a hunt for a new chairman two months after it was taken private in a £6bn deal.

Merlin Entertainments has appointed headhunter Spencer Stuart to recruit a successor to its long serving chair Sir John Sunderland, Sky News reported.

Read more: Legoland owner Merlin Entertainments secures takeover offer

The move follows Merlin’s £6bn acquisition by a consortium consisting of Kirkbi, the investment vehicle of the Danish billionaire family behind Lego, and private equity firm Blackstone.

Chief executive Nick Varney is remaining in post following the takeover.

Merlin’s brands include theme parks Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventure and Thorpe Park, Legoland Parks around the world and attractions such as Madame Tussauds, London Dungeons and Peppa Pig World.

Read more: Lego Movie 2 fails to deliver for Merlin Entertainments

Merlin’s takeover was part of a wave of take-private deals last year which included US private equity firm Advent International’s £4bn takeover of defence group Cobham and US private equity firm Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of software firm Sophos for £3bn.

Merlin had suffered a rocky period as a listed firm following a 2015 crash on its Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers that seriously injured four people.

Terrorist attacks in London also hit its attractions in the capital. 

Merlin declined to comment.