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Shakeup at Pinnacle

CEO Dan Lee steps down after St. Louis incident

Shakeup at Pinnacle

Pinnacle Entertainment CEO Dan Lee resigned last month, amid a firestorm of criticism that arose when he reportedly told a St. Louis County Council member that voting for a zoning change that would allow another casino in the county was the worst move of the official’s career.

Pinnacle issued a statement saying only that Lee resigned “to pursue other business interests.”

The statement said that Richard Goeglein will be interim chairman and John Giovenco will serve as interim CEO. Both are currently board members, and both are veteran hospitality executives-Goeglein held several positions with Holiday Corporation and Harrah’s, and Giovenco was president and COO of both Sheraton Hotels Corp. and Hilton Gaming Corp.

Lee’s actions at the county council meeting, meanwhile, are being investigated by the Missouri Gaming Commission.

The resignation is the latest in a series of top-level moves at Pinnacle. The company transferred the head of its New Jersey casino operations to a St. Louis property after the project, on the site of the former Sands in Atlantic City, was put on indefinite hold due to the economy. Kim Townsend will now be vice president and general manager of Lumiere Place in downtown St. Louis.

Townsend will continue to oversee the dormant Boardwalk project. In St. Louis, she will succeed Todd George, current VP and general manager at Lumiere Place. George will preside over the opening next spring of Pinnacle’s new River City Casino in St. Louis County.

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