IGT president, CEO, resigns; replaced by Hart

Mar 25, 2009 6:54 PM
Staff & Wire Reports |

TJ Matthews has resigned as president and chief executive of International Game Technology, the world's largest maker of slot machines and casino management systems.

The Reno-based company late Tuesday said IGT's board of directors accepted Matthews' resignation and named board member Patti S. Hart to fill those roles effective April 1.

Matthews, who took the helm of IGT in 2003, will remain as chairman.

The company planned a conference call Wednesday about the management shuffle.

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Hart has served on IGT's board of directors since June 2006. She is former chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Systems Inc., and a director for Korn/Ferry International Inc.

She also has held various management positions with the Sprint telecommunications firm.

"In Patti, the CEO search committee saw a unique combination of executive level management experience, an intimate knowledge of IGT through her years of service on our board and technology sector experience for a gaming industry increasingly characterized by rapidly evolving technology," Matthews said in a written statement.

The management shakeup comes as IGT struggles along with the hard hit casino industry in the economic recession.

In November, IGT announced the layoffs of 500 employees, and in January said another 200, mostly in its manufacturing division, would be let go by April. Earlier this month, the company also said it was slashing its regular quarterly dividend nearly 60 percent, to 6 cents from 14.5 cents, in a moved to save about $100 million in cash annually.

Hart said IGT has a "solid record of performance" and "great potential in the future."

"While the industry is facing challenging economic headwinds, I am eager to take on my duties as the CEO and help maintain IGT's position as an industry innovator," she said in a statement.

IGT shares rose to $10.17, up 40 cents, or 4.1 percent, in early trading Wednesday. Shares have traded between $46.93 and $6.81 in the past year.