Las Vegas casino operator MGM Resorts International named casino industry veteran Bill Hornbuckle as acting Chief Executive Officer after the company’s current CEO Jim Murren said in February that he would step down when a replacement was found.
Mr. Hornbuckle’s appointment at the gaming and hospitality giant’s helm becomes effective immediately.
The experienced industry leader is taking the reins of MGM during an unprecedented situation for the company itself and the gaming and hospitality sectors as a whole.
While the search for a CEO replacement was initially expected to take a bit longer, MGM moved to accelerate the process amid the unfolding coronavirus crisis that is gripping the world.
Early last week, MGM announced that it would shut all its Las Vegas properties to help curb the spread of the dangerous virus. A few days later, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered the closure of all of the state’s casinos as well as other non-essential businesses for a 30-day period. MGM was also ordered to close its casino resorts in several other states in the face of the highly contagious virus.
In a letter to his now former colleagues at MGM, Mr. Murren said that he accelerated his decision to step down as CEO and Chairman of the company to “allow the team currently in place to manage this crisis without uncertainty about impending leadership changes.”
Mr. Murren has been with MGM for 22 years, taking different positions at the company until he stepped in as its Chairman and CEO in 2008.
The now former casino executive has been appointed as Chairman of the Nevada Covid-19 Response, Relief & Recovery Task Force.
MGM’s New Leaders
MGM’s acting CEO, Mr. Hornbuckle, is a casino industry veteran who boasts more than four decades of experience in the business. He served as President and COO of MGM for several years before being promoted to company Chief over the weekend.
Mr. Hornbuckle previously occupied different positions within the gaming and hospitality powerhouse. Between 2012-13, he led MGM’s effort to build the $950 million MGM Springfield integrated resort in the Massachusetts city of Springfield.
Mr. Hornbuckle was a protege of casino mogul Steve Wynn. In 1989, MGM’s new boss opened The Mirage resort in Las Vegas for Mr. Wynn.
It also emerged that MGM board member Paul Salem was promoted to the Chairman role following Mr. Murren’s departure. Mr. Sale is a senior managing director emeritus of private equity investment firm Providence Equity Partners and chairs MGM’s real estate committee.
In a statement on his promotion, Mr. Salem said that “we believe continued steady, skilled leadership is needed in this time of great upheaval and uncertainty.”
MGM’s and the rest of Nevada’s casinos will remain shuttered for 30 days or until lawmakers consider it safe to order the reopening of such facilities.
With more than 35,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, the US has become the third worst affected country in the world, behind China and Italy. The nation has tallied more than 450 deaths.