Sheldon Adelson's Casino Empire Installs New Leadership -- Update
By Katherine Sayre
The reins to Sheldon Adelson's gambling empire are now in the
hands of a deputy and a son-in-law. The executive shift sets in
motion a succession plan as Las Vegas Sands Corp. moves forward
without its founder.
The company's board named Rob Goldstein, 65 years old, chief
executive and chairman on Tuesday. Until now, Mr. Adelson had been
the only CEO of the company he began in 1989. Mr. Adelson died Jan.
11 at the age of 87 from complications of treatment for non-Hodgkin
Mr. Goldstein steps into the top job from his most recent post
as chief operating officer and president. He joined Sands about 25
years ago and worked on significant company projects such as the
Venetian, which opened in 1999 as Mr. Adelson's first mega-casino
on the Las Vegas Strip. Mr. Goldstein was widely viewed by Wall
Street analysts as the expected successor, and he was named acting
CEO when Mr. Adelson began a medical leave earlier this month.
Patrick Dumont, 46, Mr. Adelson's son-in-law, was elevated to
chief operating officer and president Tuesday, positioning him to
be the next Adelson family member to take the top job one day. Mr.
Dumont, previously chief financial officer, joined the company a
decade ago and is married to Sivan Ochshorn. Ms. Ochshorn is one of
two children from a prior marriage of Miriam Adelson, Mr. Adelson's
Sands, which has properties in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore,
has a market capitalization of $40 billion, with $13.7 billion in
net revenue in 2019.
"He would expect nothing less than an aggressive pursuit of the
work he started, and I am determined to lead this company forward
in a way that best honors his vision," Mr. Goldstein said in a
written statement on Tuesday.
The Adelson family owns a majority stake in the company, with
nearly 57%. Much of the family stake -- valued at roughly $24
billion -- was already under the control of Miriam Adelson before
her husband's death, through shares she owned directly and in
family trusts she oversees.
Sands is scheduled to release 2020 earnings and host a call with
Wall Street analysts on Wednesday, the first since Mr. Adelson's
death. Company leaders are expected to say that Mr. Adelson's
estate isn't selling shares, which would assuage investor concerns
about insiders cashing in, said J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff in
a note Monday.
Ms. Adelson, a physician, isn't expected to take on a day-to-day
management role in Sands, according to a person familiar with the
matter. She founded addiction-treatment and -research clinics in
Las Vegas and Tel Aviv and is publisher of a newspaper in Israel.
The Adelsons also own the Las Vegas Review-Journal and have been
large financial backers of Republican election candidates.
Randy Hyzak, previously Sands's senior vice president and chief
accounting officer, was named chief financial officer. He has been
with Sands since March 2016.
The executive changes come at a disruptive time for the gambling
industry. In part, casino operators' hopes for recovery from the
economic hit of the Covid-19 pandemic depend on how quickly
vaccines can be distributed and international travel can resume in
full. As a result of the pandemic, casinos have re-examined their
long-term operating costs. Some have turned to online and sports
betting in the U.S. for new revenue streams. Las Vegas Sands's
revenue plummeted 82% in the third quarter of last year, compared
with the same quarter of the previous year.
In Macau, where Mr. Adelson helped shape the Chinese territory
into a global gambling hub, revenue took a heavy hit last year.
Total gambling revenue fell 79% from the previous year. Casinos
closed temporarily in early 2020 and Covid-19 travel restrictions
have limited the flow of visitors into Macau. Meanwhile, Macau
operators have a critical deadline looming. Casino licenses are set
to expire in 2022, and companies will have to pursue renewed
licenses from the Macau government.
"We believe long term in the future of Macau, as an important
place to visit for all of China and perhaps even all of Asia," Mr.
Goldstein said in a recent interview, before Mr. Adelson's death.
Mr. Goldstein added that securing another casino license in Macau
is fundamental to the company's future.
In Las Vegas, casino operators' revenue depends heavily on large
group events and trade shows, a vision that Mr. Adelson helped
shape with his early development of the Sands Expo and Convention
Center on the Strip in 1990. The expo center now has 2 million
square feet of space.
In October, Sands said it was considering selling its Las Vegas
properties, which include the expo center and the Venetian and
Palazzo hotel-casinos. Mr. Goldstein said in the recent interview
that any sale of Sands's Las Vegas properties hasn't been decided,
but in the meantime, the company is looking at expansion
opportunities in Texas and New York City.
Write to Katherine Sayre at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 26, 2021 18:28 ET (23:28 GMT)
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