Foxwoods president resigns his position

Jan 15, 2008 6:12 AM

The president of one of the world’s largest casino’s will resign on Friday in the midst of an expansion and a fight against a union drive by dealers.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which runs Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, announced that John O’Brien will resign effective Jan. 18.

"I’ve truly enjoyed serving as president of Foxwoods," O’Brien said in a statement. "With a solid strategy and a strong management team in place, it’s the right time for me to move on to pursue other interests, including spending more time with my family."

O’Brien became president of Foxwoods in July 2006 after nine years as chief financial officer.

"During his tenure, John made significant contributions to the success of Foxwoods, particularly during his nine years as CFO," Tribal Council Chairman Michael J. Thomas said in a statement. "We wish him well in his future endeavors."

O’Brien’s resignation comes after the United Auto Workers won a Nov. 24 union election to represent more than 2,100 dealers at Foxwoods following a campaign that raised issues such as pay, health insurance and cigarette smoking by casino customers.

A spokeswoman for the tribe said O’Brien’s resignation was not related to the union issue.

In the spring, Foxwoods plans to open its MGM Grand expansion project, which involves another hotel and casino, a 4,000-seat performing arts theater, the largest ballroom in the Northeast and new convention space to accommodate thousands.

Foxwoods senior vice president of operations Barry J. Cregan will serve as interim president while the tribe begins a search of internal and external candidates.

Adelson to serve on key trade panel

 President George W. Bush has nominated Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson to serve a term of four years as a member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

 The Advisory Committee is the principal trade advisory committee providing overall policy advice on trade matters to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The committee provides information and advice with respect to U.S. negotiating objectives and bargaining positions before entering into trade agreements, on the operation of any trade agreement once entered into, and on other matters arising in connection with U.S. trade policy.

"Sheldon Adelson is a well-respected businessman and his broad international business experience and insights will be of tremendous value to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations," said U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab, who discussed trade issues with Adelson, and Las Vegas Sands Corp. President William Weidner, in Las Vegas.

Adelson is currently chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns and operates the Venetian and Palazzo resorts in Las Vegas, the Sands Expo and Convention Center, as well as casino resorts in Macau.

A dynamic entrepreneur, business visionary, and venture capitalist, Adelson’s business career spans over five decades and has included creating and developing to maturity more than 50 different companies, including COMDEX, a tradeshow he developed for the computer industry.

"To be considered for this important committee is a true honor and serving as a member is an obligation I take very seriously," Adelson said. "Trade is a vital component of the world’s economy and I will gladly lend any and all expertise I have to help foster a strong international trade dialogue and help open any doors that for whatever reason have seemingly been shut or hard to open."

Bobby Siller tapped for WMS board

Las Vegas-based WMS Industries Inc. has announced that Bobby L. Siller will serve on WMS’ Board of Directors, its Gaming Compliance Committee and its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, effective immediately.

The 63-year-old Siller previously served on the Nevada State Gaming Control Board for eight years until December 31, 2006, and recently completed his required separation time from government office.

Prior to his appointment to the Gaming Control Board, he served for 25 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). At the FBI, he was Special Agent-in-Charge of the Las Vegas Division for three years, as well as at bureau offices in Dayton, Ohio and Dallas, Texas, and as an administrator with the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

A native of Chicago, and an Air Force veteran, Siller holds a Management Degree from DePaul University and is a graduate of the Senior Managers in Government Program, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

"Bobby brings extensive knowledge of the gaming industry and is distinguished for his integrity and value-based leadership," said Louis J. Nicastro, Chairman of the Board of WMS. "We are extremely delighted that Bobby is serving on our Board, our Gaming Compliance Committee and our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. We look forward to the benefit of his leadership, knowledge, insight and core values to support our continued growth in the global gaming industry and our quest to be recognized as one of America’s most respected companies."

Harrah’s appoints David Norton CMO

Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. said last week it has named David Norton as chief marketing officer, subject to regulatory approvals.

Norton will oversee all marketing activities for the company and will continue to lead relationship marketing, a role he has held since 2003, and will also direct the company’s brand-management activities.

"In today’s complex multi-channel marketplace, we must continue to strengthen customer relationships and deliver high-quality brand experiences across our entire portfolio," said Gary Loveman, chairman, CEO and president of Harrah’s Entertainment. "David has demonstrated outstanding leadership as senior vice president of relationship marketing and is eminently qualified for this important role."

Audrey Oswell named Fontainebleau president

Fontainebleau Resorts has appointed Audrey Oswell as president and chief operating officer of Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a $2.9 billion, 3,812-room destination casino resort currently under construction on The Strip. She will oversee all aspects of the Fontainebleau Las Vegas business and operations.

Most recently, Oswell was chief operating officer of The Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino, a $3 billion mixed-use project in Las Vegas. There, she established the start-up company’s organizational structure and policies at both the corporate and operational levels. Oswell also developed a marketing strategy for The Cosmopolitan, assembled the senior management team and created a company business plan.

Previously, she served as president and chief executive officer of Resorts Atlantic City and president and chief operating officer of Caesar’s Atlantic City, where she worked from 1979 to 2000.

"Audrey is one of the casino resort industry’s most accomplished executives," said Howard Karawan, chief operating officer, Fontainebleau Resorts. "We’re confident her vision and leadership will help drive Fontainebleau Las Vegas to become one of the world’s most spectacular destinations."