Dan Koch has been named president and CEO of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari amusement park in southern Indiana, taking over after the unexpected death of his brother Will earlier this month.
“Will and I have been business partners for decades and have spoken on the phone daily for more than 30 years,” Koch, 46, said in a prepared statement released Tuesday. “I consider it an honor to step in as president and continue the expansion plans my brother and I crafted together.”
Will Koch, 48, drowned in the family swimming pool on June 13. His diabetes was believed to be a contributing factor in his death.
The elder Koch led the amusement park in Santa Claus for 20 years, during which time it added a water park and several world-class roller coasters. The park set an attendance record in 2009 as it drew more than 1 million visitors for the fourth straight year.
Dan Koch is a partner in the law firm Koch & Trushin in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He said he plans regular trips to Indiana and daily communication with management. His mother, Pat, will continue as the park’s “director of values,” greeting guests at the front gate and providing guidance to management and staff, he said.
The new CEO said he plans to “stay the course” with long-range expansion plans, community involvement and philanthropic efforts.
“Our company was reorganized two years ago, when Will promoted two of our park directors to general managers,” Dan Koch said. “These GMs will keep the park running smoothly as we move into the heart of the season and prepare for next year.”
Dan Koch grew up in Santa Claus and graduated from nearby Heritage Hills High School. He has an undergraduate degree in business administration and finance, and a law degree, both from the University of Miami.
Holiday World will continue to be owned by the Koch family “into perpetuity,” Dan Koch said.
“Will’s three children will have time to finish their education and learn more about the family business before they decide how they would like to be involved in the future of the park,” the statement said.