MGM Mirage Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Terry Lanni announced he will retire from his executive posts at the worldÆs second-largest casino operator effective November 30.
Lanni, who has been president and CEO of MGM for more than 13 years, has recommended Chief Operating Officer Jim Murren to succeed him as CEO.
In typical good humor, the surprise announcement was made in a letter to company employees.
“This is not health-related,” he wrote. “I am not running for public office anywhere; I am not taking over any other company, gaming or otherwise, and no, IÆm not going to be on next seasonÆs Dancing With the Stars. I simply believe that change is inevitable and this is the right time for me to do this.”
LanniÆs retirement announcement came shortly after MGM Mirage posted a 67 percent drop in net income for the third quarter. The operator, like the rest of the industry, has been faced with declining revenues as the worldwide economic crisis deepens and people spend less money on recreation.
Lanni, 65, will remain a member of the board of directors.
”I believe it is now time to step aside from full-time engagement and turn over the reins to the new generation,” Lanni said.
Lanni will be long recognized, however, as someone who blazed a trail during the infancy of the gaming industry.
Named as CFO of Caesars World in 1977, Lanni spent his formative years helping that company grow its brand and expand outside Las Vegas. He spent several years in Atlantic City in the early Æ80s. He finally served as president and chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors before leaving for MGM Grand in 1995.
At MGM, his reign was just as impressive, overseeing the purchase of Mirage Resorts in 2000, Mandalay Resort Group in 2002, and the planning for the $9 billion CityCenter project, currently under construction and slated to open in 2010. He also directed a financial relationship with Dubai World, a commercial company owned by the Dubai government, which has injected millions of dollars into CityCenter and equity in the overall company.
He served as the only gaming executive on the National Gambling Impact Study Commission from 1997 to 1999, helping to craft a relatively fair and balanced document despite great pressure from anti-gambling groups.
He was elected to the American Gaming AssociationÆs Hall of Fame in 2000.