|By Steve Snyder, Lebanon Daily News,
Pa.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 15, 2012--Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co. will have a new chief executive officer on Jan. 1.
William F. Simpson Jr. was appointed to the position by the company's board of directors, according to an announcement issued by the company on Wednesday. Simpson will succeed Ted Kleisner, who will retire on Dec. 31.
Hershey Entertainment announced its succession plan a year ago. Simpson will retain his current role as president, while Kleisner will remain a member of the board of directors.
"The succession plan outlined a year ago has been successfully implemented and I am pleased to confirm the board has ratified Bill's appointment as CEO," Kleisner said in a news release. "Bill's passion for encouraging people to develop to their highest potential is a quality that sets him apart from many other leaders."
"It is a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to lead this company -- so intertwined with the history of Milton Hershey -- and I am grateful for the faith that Ted and the rest of the board has in my leadership," Simpson said in the release.
Simpson joined Hershey Entertainment as general manager of the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in 1996, the release states. He oversaw expansion of the lodge in 1998. In April 2002, he became vice president of the Entertainment Group, overseeing the operation of Hersheypark Entertainment Complex. He was promoted to chief operating officer in April 2010 and to president in November 2010. He was appointed to the board of
directors in 2011.
Before joining Hershey Entertainment, Simpson was general manager of the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Houston. He previously worked for the Williamsburg Inn, the Opryland Hotel and Hyatt Hotels Corp.
A graduate of Appalachian State University, he lives with his wife and two children in Hershey.
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