Harrah’s staying with top exec staff

Mar 15, 2005 7:08 AM

Executive search companies should see an increased volume of work once the Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Inc. (CZR) takes place. Harrah’s has announced that all its top-level executives will retain their positions following the merger that the company hopes will be completed by the end of June.

Being tabbed by Harrah’s as new members of its board of directors are the co-chairman of Hilton Hotels Inc. (HLT), Barron Hilton, largest single stockholder of Caesars, and Steve Bollenbach, CEO of Hilton Hotels.

Heading Harrah’s are Gary Loveman, chairman and CEO; Charles Atwood, senior vice president and CFO, and Tim Wilmott, COO.

Frank Stronach, multimillionaire chairman of Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) responded to the company’s poor financial report for the fourth quarter by kicking his CEO "upstairs" and moving in an individual with a strong financial background.

Jim McAlpine, who has headed MECA for the past four years, the last three of which found the company losing money, will become vice-chairman, corporate development, as he steps aside for his replacement, Tom Hodgson.

The company announcement indicated that McAlpine, a close Stronach associate through his years with the latter’s highly-successful Canadian auto parts company, will continue as a member of the company’s executive management committee along with Dennis Mills, Don Amos, Joe De Francis and Ron Charles.

Hodgson has held senior positions with several Canadian financial institutions including the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. He also has been president of strategic Analysis Corporation of Canada.

In announcing the changes, Stronach said the company "remains committed to its strong vision and leadership position within the horseracing industry. However, at this point in our development, we need to focus on financial and operating discipline at many of our operations."

Alliance Gaming Corp. (AGI) has appointed Steven Des Champ as its chief financial officer, assuming the duties of Robert Saxton who will remain as treasurer of Alliance as well as president of casino operations and executive vice president of the company’s subsidiary, Bally Gaming.

Joining Alliance is Ramesh Srinivasan who has been named executive vice president of Bally Systems. He succeeds Mark Lipparelli who will become executive vice president of operations.

At Sands Regent Corp. (SNDS), Cornelius T. Klerk, former CFO of GameTech International Inc., has become chief financial officer.