Updated 

Travel group executive is top choice to head American Gaming Association


A top executive from the U.S. Travel Association is the leading candidate to replace retiring American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf.

The Washington, D.C., lobbying group’s board of directors will vote Wednesday on the hiring of Geoff Freeman, who is now the travel association’s chief operating officer.

A search committee conducted by the American Gaming Association’s board and led by executive search firm Korn/Ferry International identified four candidates. Freeman was deemed to be the top candidate.

According to his biography on the U.S. Travel Association website, Freeman oversees all operations of the organization and “has been instrumental in the travel industry’s emergence as a significant political force.”

Freeman is familiar with the gaming industry and Las Vegas, a source familiar with the selection process said.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter is completing a two-year term as the chairman of the U.S. Travel Association’s board of directors and has worked closely with Freeman.

Freeman is a prominent advocate for travel, frequently appearing in the media and testifying before Congress.

During his tenure, U.S. Travel has nearly doubled its resources. The association expanded its activities to include reducing visa wait times for international travelers, reforming the Transportation Security Administration and improving the nation’s travel infrastructure.

Fahrenkopf, 73, a Reno native and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced his retirement in January. He has led the gaming industry group since it was formed in 1995. His resignation takes effect June 30.

Fahrenkopf’s retirement was planned well in advance. He said planning a transition with the board of directors took two years, and an agreement on his departure date was reached in December 2011.

The American Gaming Association is the voice of the gaming industry in Washington, representing members on issues such as online poker, travel promotion and off-reservation gaming. It also operates AGA PAC, a political action committee supporting elected officials who can protect the interests of the gaming industry, according to the group’s website.

The American Gaming Association’s 16-member board includes Caesars Entertainment Corp. Chairman Gary Loveman; MGM Resorts International Chairman Jim Murren; Bally Technologies Chairman Richard Haddrill; Isle of Capri Casinos CEO Virginia McDowell; Pinnacle Entertainment CEO Anthony Sanfilippo and Las Vegas Sands Corp. President Michael Leven.

 

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