Vegas casino boss takes over Echo Entertainment -
12th December 2012
new top dog at gaming and casinos company Echo Entertainment
has made fixing up the group's damaged relationship
with the NSW government one of his top priorities.
Redmond, an American and former senior exec at the
world famous Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and co-chief
executive of international casino and hotel group
MGM Grand Mirage, was named Echo's new chief executive
this past Wednesday.
appointment follows a shocking year for Echo Entertainment,
which included the axing of Sydney's Star Casino manager
Sid Vaikunta on sexual harassment claims leading to
a high profile regulatory inquiry.
chief executive and fellow American Larry Mullin was
forced out, director Brett Paton quit and chairman
John Story departed following a public campaign, or
feud if you will, by major shareholder James Packer,
the chairman of Echo competitor Crown Limited.
would like to improve the relationships and communication
we have with various stakeholders, which of course
would be everything from investors to employees to
politicians to regulators," Mr Redmond told news
objective in the short term is not to delve into those
issues ... I don't look at that as being of immediate
concern and am more focused on enhancing the performance
of the properties and shareholder value."
would not get into whether Echo was a takeover target
or threatened by Crown and James Packer, who plans
to build a rival high roller casino and hotel complex
at Sydney's controversial Barangaroo site.
Packer has also applied to regulators to increase
his Echo Entertainment stake from 10 to 25 per cent,
as has Oriental gaming giant Genting.
John O'Neill said in relation to that that the "best
form of defence was performance".
performance in 2011-12 was disappointing, he said,
which included $30 million in write-offs related to
a collapsed Chinese VIP junket operator SilkStar,
which saw plenty of bounced cheques and lines of credit
Redmond advised he would be looking at expanding Echo's
Treasury casino in Brisbane and renovating Jupiters
Hotel and Casino on the Gold Coast via discussions
with the Queensland Government.
54-year-old will also be relocating to Australia next
month in time for the opening launch of Echo's new
$870 million event centre at The Star, which includes
entertainment and a theatre and is vital to future
know there are opportunities to improve operational
efficiencies," Mr Redmond said.
think the breadth of experience I bring to the table
will help ... it's a matter of having flexibility
and creativity to operate in each of those environments
(Australia and the US)."
Mr Redmond has been retired from running casinos for
five-and-a-half years, he has sat on five boards including
will be paid a competitive fixed salary of $2.25 million
each year in his new role, plus short-term incentives
of up to a generous $1.5 million. Echo is hoping he
will be motivated to achieve a very strong result
and to live up to expectations.
Redmond will also receive up to $25,000 to cover the
costs of his move from the US to down under Australia.
shares closed 11 cents, or 3.23 per cent, higher at
$3.52 (12th December 2012).
the meantime Australian remain some of the world's
most passionate and highest spending gamblers, which
is music to the ears of Echo Entertainment, Crown
Limited, and any other gambling brand in Australia
luck at the tables and slots, and please don't overdo
it. Leave the big risks to the likes of Packer, Redmond
writer owns shares in Crown Limited