Groom ‘returns home’ as head of Caesars Palace

Dec 18, 2001 6:53 AM

John Groom, one of the gaming industry’s most respected executives, has been named president of Caesars Palace by Wally Barr, COO of Park Place Entertainment Corporation (PPE).

For the past three months, Groom has been at Caesars as the temporary president.

Actually, returning to Caesars Palace was like a “coming home” party for Groom. He began his gaming career at Caesars Atlantic City in 1979 after graduating from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and a stint at the School of Law at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

He held several executive positions in Atlantic City until 1993 when he was relocated to Las Vegas as executive vice president of operations for Caesars Palace.

In 1996, Groom joined Players International, a publicly-traded company with casinos in Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana and Nevada. Two years later, he directed the sale of the company to Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) at full value to shareholders.

Commenting on his appointment, Groom said, “There’s never been a better time to be a part of Caesars Palace. There are many exciting projects underway to enhance our guest experience.”

While Groom is moving forward with Park Place Entertainment, CFO Scott LaPorta will be leaving the company. He announced that he was resigning his position as of Jan. 31, 2002.

LaPorta explained that he has been making his home in San Francisco and has been commuting to Las Vegas. He says he hopes to take up a position nearer his home.

Derik J. Mooberry, CPA, has been appointed vice president of operations and systems operating officer for Bally Gaming and Systems, a division of Alliance Gaming Corporation (ALLY). He leaves his post as manager of business consulting for Arthur Andersen, LLP.

Mike Caloiaro has joined Sigma Game Inc. as director of product planning. He has held a number of positions in the gaming industry during the past two decades and most recently was general manager, slot division, Mikohn Gaming Corporation (MIKN).

Prominent New Orleans lawyer Wendell Gauthier has succumbed to liver cancer. He was 58. Gauthier became known to Las Vegas when he represented families of the 87 people killed in the 1980 fire at the MGM Grand Hotel, now Bally’s. His clients received a settlement of $208 million.

MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) has announced the appointment of Andrew Wilson as general manager of MGM Grand and Casino in Darwin, Australia.