Executives on the move

March 25, 2008 6:00 PM
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Herbst appoints Ferenc Szony president

Herbst Gaming, Inc.’s Board of Directors last week named Ferenc Szony as the company’s new president; he will continue to serve as chief operating officer, chief executive officer and chairman of the board.

Szony first joined Herbst Gaming in connection with the firm’s acquisition of The Sands Regent in January 2007. Szony had been the president and chief executive officer of the Sands Regent since 1997. Prior to joining the Sands Regent, he served in several executive positions with the Hilton Hotel Corporation, last serving as president at the Reno Hilton Resort from 1994 to 1997.

Spectrum taps two key executives

Spectrum Gaming Group last week announced the hiring of executives in two new positions: Michael Diamond as vice president – research, and Laura Westheimer as vice president of the company’s expanded Las Vegas office.

Diamond joined Spectrum after a 33-year career at The Press of Atlantic City, where he served as a special projects writer, editorial page editor, statehouse correspondent and bureau chief, all while frequently covering gaming-industry issues. After leaving the newspaper in 2005 he became an investigator with the New Jersey Office of Inspector General. He was responsible for reviewing allegations of waste, fraud and corruption. He participated in developing a number of reports for the office.

At Spectrum, Diamond will play a leading role in the company’s major domestic and international research projects, from state economic-impact reports to regulatory investigations in Asia.

Westheimer is charged with opening Spectrum’s expanded Las Vegas office at 7160 Amigo Street, from which she will manage the company’s Nevada services, including feasibility studies, market analyses, regulatory and due diligence services, and litigation support. She can be reached at (702) 622-5043.

Westheimer began her gaming industry career in 1989 in casino marketing at the Desert Inn. She went on to hold several management positions with the Grand Victoria Casino in Chicagoland, culminating with Compliance Officer. She then became Corporate Manager -- Special Projects at Cannery Casino Resorts, where among other tasks she oversaw due diligence efforts and capital and operating budgets. Most recently, she served as Director of Special Projects for the Cosmopolitan Resort Casino in Las Vegas, where she prepared budgets and pro-forma analyses, analyzed floor plans, and oversaw tenant lease administration.

Riviera hires Nicholas as Black Hawk GM

Riviera Holdings Corporation has appointmented of Nicholas J. Polcino, Jr. to the position of general manager of Riviera Black Hawk, pending approval by the Colorado Division of Gaming.

Polcino’s gaming career has spanned nearly 30 years, beginning as a dealer in Atlantic City in 1979, to holding most of the major managerial positions on the casino floor. He served less than a year as executive director of operations for Resorts Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Mississippi before being promoted to assistant general manager of the property in 2005.

"Nick comes to Riviera Black Hawk with some of the most comprehensive experience we’ve seen in casino operations," said Mr. William L. Westerman, CEO and chairman of Riviera Holdings. "His experience includes virtually all supervisory and managerial positions on the casino floor, as well as extensive first-hand knowledge of the policies, procedures and standards of daily casino operations. Nick’s personality and professionalism will add to the overall enjoyment of our customers’ gaming experience. We are excited to have Nick join the team and look forward to his contribution to the continued growth and prosperity of Riviera Black Hawk."

Technology specialist Tim Britt Joins LVGI

Las Vegas Gaming, Inc. (LVGI), a provider of server-based gaming application delivery systems, announced last week that Tim Britt will be joining the company as chief technology officer and chief information officer.

Most recently Britt served as Uber-Architect in the Harrah’s Innovation, R&D and Information Technology Strategy Team, where he led the technical teams responsible for the invention, development and deployment of innovative products such as Total Touch, Microsoft Surface and bCode, as well as providing architectural direction for the company’s IT strategies.

LVGI President and CEO Jon Berkley said, "Tim has long been recognized as a leading innovator in the gaming industry and having him join the LVGI team is a true honor. Tim is a critical part of our future and his joining us confirms LVGI’s dedication to continued growth as a world-class innovator and technological leader in the gaming industry."

Britt began his career at General Electric, where he launched and served as president and CTO to Paradigm Systems which was created to bring innovative new technologies into the GE business units.

In 1998, he shifted the focus of Paradigm to the gaming industry and formed Paradigm Gaming Systems, which was purchased by Konami Gaming in 2001.

Riviera accepts
Lefever resignation

Riviera Holdings Corporation last week announced the resignation of Mark B. Lefever as chief financial officer and executive vice president of Riviera Holdings Corporation and as president of Riviera Black Hawk effective March 31, 2008. Lefever is leaving to accept a position as chief financial officer of Fontainebleau Las Vegas LLC. William L. Westerman, CEO and chairman of Riviera Holdings, will assume the duties of president of Riviera Black Hawk and chief financial officer of Riviera Holdings Corporation in the interim.