PE-owned Great Wolf Resorts taps Rodriguez as new CEO

Great Wolf Resorts, which is owned by Centerbridge Partners LP, has named Ruben A. Rodriguez as CEO. The appointment becomes effective September 22. Recently, Rodriguez worked at Carnival Cruise Line where he served as executive vice president of ship operations. Rodriguez will succeed Kimberly K. Schaefer who will become the company’s chief brand officer through the end of this year and then transition to Great Wolf’s board in early 2016. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Great Wolf is an operator of indoor water parks.


MADISON, Wis., Aug. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. today announced Ruben A. Rodriguez as its next Chief Executive Officer, effective September 22, 2015. The Company’s current CEO, Kimberly K. Schaefer, will assume the role of Chief Brand Officer through the end of this year and will transition to Great Wolf’s board in early 2016.

Mr. Rodriguez, 52, has broad experience across several leading hospitality and consumer focused companies, most recently serving as Executive Vice President, Ship Operations for Carnival Cruise Line. At Carnival, Mr. Rodriguez led hospitality operations, onboard revenues, marine operations, and shared services across 24 cruise ships carrying approximately five million guests per year. In his previous role at Carnival, Mr. Rodriguez led key commercial functions, including marketing, revenue management, ship deployment, product development and public relations. Prior to joining Carnival, Mr. Rodriguez was a Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group, and held senior roles at The Charles Schwab Corporation and at eToys. He earned his engineering degrees from Princeton University and University of California at Berkeley, and his MBA from Stanford University.

Ms. Schaefer said, “Great Wolf Resorts has been such an important part of my life for 18 years. I have watched the business grow from one lodge to 12 and feel so much pride in thinking of all the opportunities I have had to contribute to what it is today. I am excited that Ruben will join us as the CEO and bring a unique perspective to our leading family entertainment brand. I look forward to being involved in the next phase of Great Wolf’s growth.”

Regarding his new role, Mr. Rodriguez said, “I am impressed by the great brand and compelling business model that Great Wolf has built under Kim’s leadership. As the leader in indoor water park resorts, Great Wolf has excelled in creating special and memorable experiences at each Lodge. I am eager to work with the management team to continue building and growing the Great Wolf brand, and to delight thousands of guests each year.”

William D. Rahm, a Senior Managing Director with Great Wolf’s majority owner, Centerbridge Partners, L.P., said “I am delighted with Ruben’s appointment as CEO. Ruben is an outstanding leader and brings a track record of delivering exceptional value to consumers. Ruben’s varied experiences, including most recently at Carnival Cruise Line, will be tremendously valuable as Great Wolf Resorts enters the next phase of its growth strategy and expands its footprint to new markets. I’d like to thank Kim for her extraordinary service to our Company. During her tenure, Kim developed Great Wolf Resorts into a leading hospitality business and a nationally recognized family brand.”

About Great Wolf Resorts, Inc.
Great Wolf Resorts, Inc.® , Madison, Wis., is North America’s largest family of indoor waterpark resorts and, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, owns and operates its family resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge® brand. Great Wolf Resorts is a fully integrated resort company with Great Wolf Lodge locations in: Wisconsin Dells, Wis.; Sandusky, Ohio; Traverse City, Mich.; Kansas City, Kan.; Williamsburg, Va.; Pocono Mountains, Pa.; Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; Mason, Ohio; Grapevine, Texas; Grand Mound, Wash.; Fitchburg, Mass., Charlotte, N.C.; Garden Grove, Calif. (opening in early 2016) and, at the end of 2016, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Additional information may be found on the company’s online media center.

About Centerbridge Partners, L.P.
Centerbridge Partners, L.P., headquartered in New York, NY, is a private investment firm with approximately $25 billion in capital under management as of June 30, 2015. The firm focuses on private equity and credit investments and is dedicated to partnering with world-class management teams across targeted industry sectors to help companies achieve their operating and financial objectives.