MGM Resorts Shakes Up Corporate Team, Appoints New COO

MGM Resorts International announced Friday major changes in its corporate leadership team while naming long-term executive Cory Sanders as COO.

The End of MGM Resorts’ Corporate Reorganization

US hospitality and entertainment group MGM Resorts International appointed chief financial officer Corey Sanders to chief operating officer on Friday. Until the company finds a replacement for the CFO position, Mr. Sanders will handle both positions.

Mr. Sanders served as the casino giant’s COO for nine years before stepping as CFO in March 2019, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission states. MGM Resorts did not disclose the reasons for the change. The new leadership change follows the retirement of former chief executive officer Jim Murren and the nomination last March of long-term President Bill Hornbuckle for the position.

“Earlier this year we embarked on a reorganization of leadership at the property level and now I have completed a reorganization at the corporate level,”

MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle 

Mr. Hornbuckle’s memo to MGM employees on Friday declared changes to the presidency of two gaming properties on the Las Vegas Strip. CityCenter’s president is now Anton Nikodemus, while Ann Hoff was appointed president of Bellagio and Park MGM. Additionally, The group is currently creating a chief technological officer position.

MGM Resorts also announced yesterday the resignation of Atif Rafiq as president for commercial and growth. Mr. Rafiq’s contract will officially end on December 18. “We are unfortunately losing a talented colleague, but I believe strongly that we must put into place the right leadership team to bring us forward into a bright future,” Mr. Hornbuckle said in the memo.

MGM Reduces Ownership Stock in MGP

Paul Salem, MGM board member, was named chairman in March in replacement of Mr. Murren. To further shake up the corporate leadership of the company, InterActiveCorp (IAC) chairman and senior executive Barry Diller and CEO Joey Levin were added last August to the MGM board, which now totals 14 members.

For nine weeks following the beginning of June 2020, IAC purchased 59 million shares of MGM Resorts, increasing its stake to 12% via 34 stock deals. Billionaire media tycoon Barry Diller commented that the ownership stake is a  “minority position.”

On Wednesday, MGM Resorts announced the reduction of its ownership stake in its real estate investment trust MGM Growth Properties (MGP) to 53%, via the reimbursement of $700 million net in cash in exchange for stock. The group said the proceeds will be used for “general corporate purposes.” MGM Resorts currently operates 26 properties in six states across the US, including 9 resorts on the Strip.

MGM Resorts’ shares on the New York Stock Exchange increased by 2.71%, or 81 cents, closing at $30.72 on Friday.

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