Great Wolf Resorts names John Murphy CEO

Great Wolf Resorts Inc. has revealed that John Murphy will serve as the company’s next CEO, taking over for Murray Hennessy who is retiring, but will continue to serve as an advisor to the company.

“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be following in Murray’s footsteps, leading this incredibly talented and enthusiastic Great Wolf team,” said Murphy. “It’s abundantly clear that this is a company with a strong culture that truly cares for its people, setting the foundation for everything the team does to support the mission of bringing joy to families. When you visit a Great Wolf Lodge, the environment speaks to the things I have always cared about most with my family—spending quality time together and creating memories that last a lifetime. It’s easy to see why families have developed such a strong connection to this brand.”

He is a seasoned hospitality executive with more than 30 years of hospitality leadership experience.

“We are grateful to Murray for his hard work over the years, and excited to welcome Murph to the team,” said Rob Harper, head of real estate asset management Americas, Blackstone, which maintains a majority ownership stake in Great Wolf Resorts. “His extensive hospitality experience, collaborative approach and ability to develop high performing teams make him an ideal choice to lead Great Wolf Resorts as we continue to invest in new communities, creating jobs and giving more families the ability to enjoy the Great Wolf experience. With Murray remaining as an advisor, we are confident it will be a seamless transition.”

Billy Rahm, global head of real estate, Centerbridge Partners, which holds the remaining share of the company, added, “We have been honored to work with Murray for the past five years. As CEO, he expanded the company’s ‘paw print’ with four new resorts across the U.S., which created more than 2,000 jobs and made millions of memories for families. In addition, Murray led the company through the particularly challenging years of the pandemic, and helped the company emerge even stronger. As the company begins this next chapter, we’re thrilled to partner with Murph as we continue to invest in enhancing the Great Wolf experience at our existing lodges and expand our reach through the development of new resorts and with Great Wolf Entertainment.”