Station Casinos announced last week that Kevin L. Kelley will be rejoining the company as executive vice president and chief operating officer, effective January 7, 2008.
Kelley brings nearly 30 years of gaming experience to Stations, including 10 years with the Las Vegas-based gaming operator, during which time he served in several leadership roles, including president of Westside Operations overseeing five hotel/casino properties.
In addition to his 10 years’ of experience with Stations, Kelley’s experience includes serving as president and chief operating officer of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and, most recently, serving as senior vice president for Las Vegas Sands Corp.
"I am thrilled to be returning to Station Casinos and excited to be part of the next chapter in the growth of the company," said Kelley. "I know the company well and have a great deal of respect for the business the Fertittas’ have built and the team members that make it all possible."
Kelley originally left Stations in 2003 to become president and CEO of the Hard Rock hotel/casino.
"I am very pleased to be welcoming Kevin back to the company," said Lorenzo J. Fertitta, vice chairman and president. "Kevin has the experience, knowledge and leadership to help us achieve the significant goals we have set for the company. He is a proven leader who has a track record of success at every level."
Kelley succeeds William W. Warner in the role of executive vice president and chief operating officer. Warner recently resigned after serving with Stations for 14 years in various leadership roles.
No reason was given for Warner’s departure. He is credited with helping to build the company from a small publicly traded firm to the dominant operator in the Southern Nevada locals casino market.
In addition to its licensing woes in Atlantic City, the owners of the Tropicana have had to deal with a "revolving door" of top company executives.
John Jacob, the company’s chief financial officer, has resigned to take a job in Ohio.
Jacob, who was raked over the coals about Tropicana’s finances in its licensing hearing before the N.J. Casino Control Commission, is the second CFO Tropicana Casinos and Resorts has lost this year. Jacob held the job less than four months.
In August, On Jacob replaced Richard Fitzpatrick, who was hired in 2006 to oversee the acquisition of Tropicana’s former owner, Aztar.
Tropicana’s new owner, William Yung, said that Jacob was tired of commuting to the company’s headquarters in Kentucky and took a job with an unnamed private-equity firm closer to his home in Columbus, Ohio.
Yung said the move was expected and he already has a replacement in mind. But, he added, "The timing was not good."
Lehman Bros. analyst Jane Pedreira said the loss of Jacob creates the perception "it’s a revolving door." The company also replaced its chief operating officer this year, and many of its casino presidents have left or been forced out.
"It’s a problem if they can’t hold onto their executive officers or their general managers," Pedreira said.
Lakes Entertainment, Inc. announced last week that it has named Scott Just to fill the open position of Vice President of Gaming and Diane Stone to fill the open position of Vice President of Human Resources.
Stone, a human resources veteran with more than 25 years experience in the gaming industry, will oversee employee performance and recruitment for Lakes Entertainment, as well as employee relations and leadership development training within the company.
Prior to joining Lakes Entertainment, Stone worked as a human resources consultant in the gaming industry. Stone has also held a variety of senior human resources positions with such organizations as Chukchansi Gold Resort, Cascade Entertainment, First Nation Gaming, Grand Casinos, MGM Grand, Hilton and Ballys.
Scott Just will oversee all aspects of gaming floor design, gaming product installation and performance monitoring. Just has over 15 years of gaming industry experience, most recently with International Gaming Technology (IGT) where he was the Director of the West Central Region. Prior to IGT, Just held senior gaming positions with Harrah’s Entertainment, Grand Casinos and Lakes Entertainment.
"Diane and Scott bring a wealth of gaming industry experience to Lakes, including many years of experience in tribal gaming," said Tim Cope, president and chief financial officer. "We are extremely pleased to have them join our executive management team and look forward to putting their talent and expertise to work."
Lakes Entertainment currently has development and management agreements with five separate Tribes for casino operations in Michigan, California, and Oklahoma, for a total of eight separate casino sites. In addition, Lakes has announced plans to develop a company owned casino resort project in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The company also owns approximately 61 percent of WPT Enterprises, operator of the World Poker Tour.