Chief executive at MGM Resorts says he'll step down

February 12, 2020 - 6:49 pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jim Murren, the head of casino giant MGM Resorts International, says he’ll step down as chairman and chief executive as soon as the company finds a successor.

Murren has led the company since 2008. A corporate statement Wednesday said he intends to leave before his contract expires next year, but gave no reason.

"Jim has led the company through growth, transforming it into a global entertainment company with a worldwide footprint and creating value for MGM Resorts shareholders,” board member Roland Hernandez said in the statement.

In the statement, Murren called it “an honor to work with such a talented group of men and women who provide millions of guests with memorable life experiences every day all over the world.”

Publicly traded MGM Resorts has some 80,000 employees at 29 casinos and hotels. The company is the largest employer in Nevada, with several Las Vegas Strip properties.

In recent months the company sold its Bellagio, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay resorts to a joint venture including private-equity and real estate company Blackstone Group and MGM Growth Properties LLC. MGM Resorts continues to manage the properties under a leaseback agreement.

Mandalay Bay was the hotel where a gunman opened fire into a concert crowd across the street in 2017 that left 58 people dead in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

MGM Resorts laid off about 1,000 employees last year and several executives retired under a company-wide plan to cut costs and boost annual earnings by $300 million by 2021.

The company said separately on Wednesday it was withdrawing its 2020 financial targets because of uncertainty created by the viral outbreak in China. Its casinos in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau are closed due to the outbreak and fewer Asian baccarat players are traveling to Las Vegas.

Murren has been with MGM Resorts and its predecessors since 1998.

As chief executive, he oversaw company involvement in the building of T-Mobile Arena, home to the NHL Vegas Golden Knights and WNBA Las Vegas Aces, and a drive that brought the NFL’s Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas to begin play at a new stadium this year.

The company statement pointed to his “early and strong” support for “diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in Las Vegas,” as well as the opening of two company properties in Macau and efforts to obtain a casino license in Osaka, Japan.

Company stock closed Wednesday at $33.66, up 95 cents. Share prices fell in after-hours trading.

MGM Resorts' fourth-quarter 2019 earnings were below Wall Street expectations. The company reported a net income of about $2 billion, or $3.91 a share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to 8 cents per share. Revenue was $3.19 billion in the period.

Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research had expected adjusted earnings of 24 cents a share on revenue of $3.21 billion.

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Associated Press writer Richard Jacobsen in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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