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MGM Resorts names acting CEO to replace Jim Murren

Updated March 22, 2020 - 6:49 pm

MGM Resorts International has named COO and President Bill Hornbuckle as acting CEO and president, replacing outgoing chairman and CEO Jim Murren.

After 12 years at the helm, Murren announced his resignation in February. According to a Sunday news release from MGM, Murren vacated the position Sunday “in light of the public health crisis gripping the nation and the travel industry … to provide continuity of leadership for the company.”

“I fully support accelerating the planned leadership transition to help MGM Resorts address the rapidly changing environment,” Murren said in the statement. “I have great confidence in Bill Hornbuckle and the management team to lead MGM Resorts at this critical juncture, as we have together through numerous hardships of the past.”

Murren said he will continue to dedicate his efforts to help the company “during this uncertain time,” and will assist the state of Nevada in its crisis response and recovery efforts amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Sunday, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that Murren will lead the new COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force, a new public-private partnership meant to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Paul Salem, a member of the company’s board of directors and chair of its real estate committee, will replace Murren as chairman.

Salem said the company has confidence in Hornbuckle’s ability “to bring this company back online” after the closures.

“The nation is facing an unprecedented crisis, causing the travel and hospitality industry to grind to a near halt. It is clear that once the threat to the public health has subsided and we are ready to reopen our resorts and casinos, it will take an incredible effort to ramp back up,” Salem said. “We believe continued steady, skilled leadership is needed in this time of great upheaval and uncertainty.”

Hornbuckle has been working in the gaming industry for four decades, according to the statement.

The new CEO said he has “every confidence” MGM Resorts will remain a global entertainment leader once the COVID-19 crisis is contained and it’s safe to operate.

The company is currently under orders from Gov. Steve Sisolak to remain closed for 30 days to help curb the spread of the virus, along with all other Nevada casinos.

Hornbuckle is currently an executive committee member and board member for MGM China Holdings, with operations and resorts in the Chinese territory Macao. He also is a member of the board of directors of real estate investment trust MGM Growth Properties, the CityCenter JV board of directors and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.

Hornbuckle first joined MGM Resorts in 1998 as president and COO of the MGM Grand. He has served as president and COO of MGM Resorts International-Europe, where he worked on the development of the company’s gaming operations in the United Kingdom; president and COO of Mandalay Bay; and chief marketing officer for MGM Resorts.

He also has worked with Caesars Palace and Mirage Resorts.

The UNLV graduate serves on the board of trustees for Three Square Food Bank, and is a founder of the local banking institution Bank of George.

Salem is a senior managing director emeritus at Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm specializing in the media and communication industries. Prior to joining Providence in 1992, he worked for Morgan Stanley in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions.

He also is chairman of the board for nonprofit Year Up, which focuses on closing the opportunity divide for urban young adults, and a board member for Edesia Global Nutrition, a social enterprise that treats acute malnutrition around the globe. He received a master of business administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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