Caesars Entertainment, on the heels of the bankruptcy filing of its largest unit, announced that Gary Loveman, who has been the operator’s CEO for 12 years, will step down from that position effective July 1. He will be replaced by Mark Frissora, the former CEO of Hertz Global Holdings.
Loveman will remain chairman of the board of Caesars Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment Operating Company (CEOC), the unit that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January. Frissora, who spent seven years as CEO of Hertz before stepping down last September amid flat results and accounting questions, will become a director of Caesars immediately, and will work with Loveman as CEO designee during the transition period.
Loveman will continue to oversee the prepackaged restructuring of CEOC, which recently won its battle to have its case heard by a Chicago bankruptcy judge. Loveman, a former Harvard Business School professor, joined Caesars as chief operating officer in 1998, becoming CEO in 2003. He is one of the industry’s longest-tenured CEOs and highest-paid executives. He oversaw Caesars’ acquisition of Horseshoe Gaming and its World Series of Poker in 2004, and its acquisition of Caesars Entertainment a year later.
Just before the national recession deepened in 2008, Loveman took Caesars private through a $30.7 billion acquisition by hedge funds Apollo Global Management and TPG Capital. It was this transaction that led to the operator’s problems, leaving Caesars at the time with $22.8 billion in debt.
In a statement, Loveman said the prepackaged restructuring marks a good time to step down from his CEO duties. “My decision to begin to transition management now comes with the confidence that we have taken the steps necessary to ensure the company’s long-term success,” he said. “I am proud of the company’s many accomplishments and grateful for the loyalty and friendship of my thousands of colleagues.”
Frissora agreed in a statement of his own that he is joining Caesars at a crucial time in the company’s history.
“Caesars’ network and range of offerings and amenities make it a true leader in gaming, entertainment and hospitality,” Frissora said. “I am looking forward to working closely with Gary, the board and the leadership team to ensure a smooth transition.”