Universal Studios Hollywood Names New Park President
Starting in December, Karen Irwin will become the new President and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Studios Hollywood. Irwin will oversee Universal Studios Hollywood as well as the adjacent CityWalk shopping and entertainment center.
Karen is a current executive of Universal in Orlando. In her most recent duty, Irwin oversaw merchandising and partnership deals for Universal Parks & Resorts, the umbrella company that oversees all Universal theme parks. She has been with the company for 26 years starting as part of the opening team of Universal Studios Florida.
What do all the fancy titles mean? It means Karen was the person who helped Universal Orlando bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to life, and stock the shelves with lots of merchandise including the interactive wands. It also means she will be a decision maker at Universal Studios Hollywood. This is a very bold move for Universal Hollywood, as the park is in the middle of a massive expansion.
Thomas Williams, Chairman & CEO, Universal Parks & Resorts, stated:
“Karen is creative, strategic, focused and a true leader and been at the forefront of our incredible growth in merchandise over the past 10 years. She has a wealth of operational and senior management experience in all facets of our business and was instrumental in all of the development of our incredible Harry Potter offerings. Karen is uniquely qualified for this important role and we look forward to welcoming her to this new chapter in her career.”
Irwin could also be heavily involved in future planning of the rumored Nintendo Land and Diagon Alley expansion at Universal Hollywood. While neither of these major additions have been announced, they are very likely to happen.
Irwin is replacing Larry Kurzweil, who was President of Universal Studios Hollywood for 17 years. He helped open the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Transformers: The Ride 3D. Larry will move on to become the President and CEO of Los Angeles based Lemonade Restaurant Group.
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