ALEXANDRIA, VA -- The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions announced on Oct. 14 that Charles W. (Charlie) Bray has resigned as president and chief executive effective Dec. 3, 2010. No immediate successor has been announced. IAAPA's Executive Committee will head the search for Bray's replacement.
IAAPA provided no details about Bray's plans, other than to say he is leaving the association for an "exceptional opportunity"
in the Washington, DC, area. Details will be available in the coming weeks, the association said.
Bray joined IAAPA as chief financial officer in mid-2004 and was named the association's president and chief executive in February 2006. IAAPA chairman Chip Cleary hailed Bray's vision and guidance as instrumental to the tremendous progress made during his tenure.
During Bray's term, IAAPA opened or expanded offices in Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Bray also led the association during its negotiation for a10-year contract to hold its annual Attractions Expo, known as the "parks show," in Orlando, FL.
Last year, Bray presided over IAAPA's absorption of the International Association for the Leisure and Entertainment Industries. The merger became official on Oct. 30, 2009, as VT reported at the time. [see story]
The merger was highly controversial within IALEI, splitting its 2008/09 leadership against some past presidents and board members. Nevertheless, the agreement cemented IAAPA's role as the industry's dominant association for location-based amusements, ranging from the smallest U.S. family entertainment centers to the world's largest theme parks.
As a result of the merger, an estimated 559 former IALEI members became IAAPA members, including 476 FECs and 83 suppliers. Several IALEI educational programs were also folded into the parks association's programs.
The merger also meant that IAAPA acquired IALEI's 50% stake in Fun Expo, a trade show for family entertainment centers. The FEC show ran one more time after the merger, losing money as it commingled with the new Amusement Expo in March, 2010. Three months later, Fun Expo's owners (including IAAPA, the Amusement and Music Operators Association and the American Amusement Machine Association) announced the termination of the show. [see story]
Prior to joining IAAPA, Bray headed the International Association of Food Industry Suppliers and the Electronic Retailing Association. He began his career with accounting giant Arthur Anderson. He also held senior executive posts at the Food Marketing Institute and American University before moving into association management.
IAAPA, a nonprofit organization, represents more than 4,000 facility, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. Member facilities include amusement and theme parks, waterparks, attractions, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts and casinos.