Harrah’s shuffles its deck of top exec’s

Aug 30, 2005 3:09 AM

In the wake of its acquisition of Caesars Entertainment, Harrah’s has shuffled its deck of top executives and drawn three aces to head seven resorts.

Topping the list is Dan Marrandino, president of Harrah’s Northern Nevada, who was promoted to president of Harrah’s Las Vegas and Flamingo Las Vegas.

Succeeding Marrandino as president of Harrah’s Northern Nevada Region is John Koster, formerly senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Laughlin. Koster will oversee operations at Harrah’s, Harvey’s and Bill’s in Lake Tahoe, as well as Harrah’s Reno.

Wade Faul, currently assistant general manager for Flamingo Las Vegas, will take the helm of Harrah’s Laughlin as senior vice president and general manager.

Each of the executives will report to Tom Jenkins, president of Harrah’s Western Division, and all are subject to the customary regulatory approvals.

"Harrah’s is fortunate to have a deep pool of talent to step into leadership roles at these key Nevada properties," Jenkin said. "All three men have produced impressive results, in strong or challenging economic environments."

Prior to joining Harrah’s, Marrandino served briefly as executive vice president and general manager of Wynn Las Vegas during its start-up phase.

Before that Marrandino served as president of the Hard Rock hotel and casino, where he pioneered marketing to Generation X through initiatives such as ultra-nightclubs and celebrity chef restaurants. He also was instrumental in securing star entertainment headliners, including the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith.

Before joining the Hard Rock, Marrandino was president of Station Casinos’ eastside operations (Sunset and Boulder Stations), and prior to that he served as general manager of the Rio in Las Vegas.

"Wherever he worked, Don brought entertainment experiences that excite and engage guests," Jenkin said. "I can’t think of a better spot for that kind of leadership than the bull’s eye of the Las Vegas Strip."

John Koster has held a variety of executive positions in the gaming industry, both domestically and internationally. He was assistant general manager of Harrah’s Laughlin from 2002 to 2004, and vice president of hotel operations for Harrah’s Las Vegas from 1999 to 2002.

Prior to joining Harrah’s, Koster was president and chief operating officer of the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, where he served beginning in 1993.

Koster also worked for Sheraton and its parent companies for more than 17 years. His tour of duty included hotel managerial posts in Hong Kong and Thailand.

"John is one of this company’s most admire executives," Jenkin said. "His team at Harrah’s Laughlin consistently earned impressive customer service scores. We value these scores as highly as our brick and mortar assets. These customer service initiatives helped grow our business in Laughlin, and will be very important in the competitive Northern Nevada region."

A 20-year Harrah’s veteran, Wade Faul began his gaming career as a part-time dealer at Harrah’s Las Vegas. He went on to hold various managerial positions in table game operations, including supervisor, assistant casino manager and casino manager.

From 2001 to 2004, Faul led the table games department at the Rio, after which he was selected to lead the team that successfully re-opened Binion’s Horseshoe in early 2004.

Following the expiration of Harrah’s management contract at Binion’s, Faul served as assistant general manager of Harrah’s Las Vegas. Later he was named to a similar post at Flamingo Las Vegas.

The appointments are subject to approval of gaming regulators in Nevada. Their approval is expected.