Executive on the move

Sep 18, 2007 3:54 AM

Rick Charles takes helm of Aquarius

American Casino & Entertainment Properties (ACEP) recently named Rick Charles senior vice president and general manager of the Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin.

Charles brings over 25 years of hospitality and gaming experience to the position. He is responsible for all operational departments and also oversees property budgets, strategic planning and capital projects.

Charles reports directly to Richard P. Brown, president and chief executive officer of American Casino & Entertainment Properties.

"Rick Charles is a proven hospitality veteran with extensive experience in all facets of operating and developing dynamic gaming resort properties. He is tasked with the continued growth and strategic development of the Aquarius Casino Resort property and brand," said Brown.

Prior to the Aquarius Casino Resort, Charles was most recently chief operating officer of the Sandia Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, N.M. During his tenure it was the most successful gaming destination property in New Mexico.

Aristocrat taps Tom Smock

Aristocrat Technologies Inc. has appointed long-time gaming industry lawyer Tom Smock as Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Prior to joining Aristocrat, Smock spent the last seven years with Las Vegas Sands Corporation, most recently acting as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Venetian Macau. Smock’s extensive operator experience also includes Corporate Counsel for Caesars Palace Hotel Casino. Additionally, Smock has held numerous attorney-at-law positions with various firms. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law.

Aristocrat President Tim Parrot said, "We are thrilled to welcome Tom to the Aristocrat family. While his primary focus will be the Americas, his diverse experience in the industry domestically and abroad will serve the company well, in the Americas and across the global company’s many points of operation."

Danny Wade named Plaza COO

Daniel M. Wade, 55, a gaming and hospitality professional and former vice chairman of the board of MGM MIRAGE, has been named Chief Operating Officer of the new Plaza Las Vegas, which is earmarked for the site of the shuttered New Frontier.

The appointment was announced by Miki Naftali, president of Elad IDB Las Vegas, owner/developer of the proposed multi-billion dollar ultra-luxury hotel, private residence, retail, gaming and convention complex. Naftali is also president of New York-based Elad Group, owner of the landmark Plaza Hotel, which is undergoing a $400 million renovation.

The new Plaza Las Vegas center will be constructed on the 34.5-acre site of the shuttered New Frontier, which will be demolished by implosion in October. The location is considered one of the best on the Strip, directly across from the Wynn Las Vegas.

"It is as though my 36-year career, from bellman to chief executive, has been in preparation for this challenging and sensational opportunity of a lifetime," Wade said.

Wade has led management teams through the conceptual, design, developmental and operational phases of top-earning hotels and gaming resorts world-wide. He is one of few executives to hold key licenses in Nevada, Australia, China, Atlantic City and Detroit simultaneously.

The multi-billion dollar Plaza Las Vegas, a joint venture of Elad Group and IDB Group USA Investments, Inc. is slated to open in 2011.