The casino industry is a tough business when things aren’t going well. Usually the leader takes the fall, and that’s what happened at two neighboring properties in Macau in July.
First, Steve Jacobs, the president of Sands China, was summarily relieved of his position in what appears to be a showdown with Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson. Insiders say that conflict was ongoing between the two and Jacobs’ stock options gave him a multi-year cushion if he got fired. Ironically, the Sands China properties—the Venetian, Sands Macao and the Four Seasons—were performing much better than last year. And construction of parcels 5 and 6 are moving forward, as well, with completion expected in 2012.
The surprise replacement for Jacobs is a combination of two executives. Edward Tracy, a former president of the Trump casino organization, was named president and chief operating officer and David Sisk, a former CFO at Caesars Palace and Wynn Las Vegas, was appointed executive vice president and chief casino officer. Tracy, who helped develop a New Orleans riverboat with Capitol Gaming after leaving Trump, has not run a casino in over a decade. As CFO of Wynn Las Vegas, Sisk played a role in the development and opening of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore.
Across the street at City of Dreams, Greg Hawkins stepped down as president following months of disappointing results at the Melco Crown-owned property. Hawkins’ departure led the parent company to restructure upper management at the property.
Ted Chan, currently president of the company’s Altira Macau property, has been promoted to co-chief operating officer of gaming, and will oversee gaming activities across the entire organization effective next month.
Nick Naples, formerly consulting executive vice president at rival Sands China Ltd., has been named co-chief operating officer, operations, and will manage all non-gaming operating activities for the company.
Both Chan and Naples will report directly to Lawrence Ho, the company’s co-chairman and chief executive officer.
The reorganization will eliminate dedicated CEOs at each of the Macau properties, instead giving each of the co-COOs overall corporate responsibilities.