NEWRY, Maine (AP) — Leslie B. Otten has resigned as chairman and chief executive officer of American Skiing Co., its directors announced Wednesday.
Named as Otten's replacement was William "B.J." Fair, a former Universal Studios executive who joined American Skiing last year and currently serves as its chief operating officer.
Otten, who founded the Newry-based company more than two decades ago, said in a statement that he has been investigating options outside American Skiing since merger discussions with the hotel company Meristar began last summer. That merger has since been called off.
Otten, who did not go into specifics about his plans, was in Florida and could not be reached for comment.
American Skiing is one of the largest ski resort operators in North America. It owns The Canyons resort in Park City, as well as other slopes in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Colorado and along the Nevada-California line.
The highly leveraged company has had a tough time since it went public in November 1997, and investors have shown little faith that it will soon recover. Its stock has fallen from an initial price of $18 a share to close at $1.69 Tuesday.
Fair acknowledged that American Skiing faces near-term challenges but expressed confidence that management can create substantial shareholder value in the next few years.
American Skiing finished its last fiscal year with a loss of $32.3 million. It posted a loss in its most recent quarter, despite plentiful snow.