Table-game provider Shuffle Master appointed longtime company employee David Lopez as interim chief executive officer late Monday.
Las Vegas-based Shuffle Master’s board of directors said it was still seeking a permanent CEO, but one gaming analyst doesn’t believe Lopez’s interim tag should last long.
Lopez, 37, Shuffle Master’s chief operating officer, will retain his current title. He was also appointed to the company’s board of directors.
During his 12-year tenure with Shuffle Master, Lopez has overseen 10 corporate divisions, departments and entities worldwide and has led the launch of numerous key Shuffle Master products.
Lopez replaces interim Shuffle Master CEO Phillip Peckman, who took over earlier this year following the death of company CEO Tim Parrott.
Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski said Lopez should be given the job permanently.
“Shuffle Master should stop their search and remove the interim title from Mr. Lopez and make him the permanent CEO,” Wieczynski told investors. “Dragging on an extended search for a permanent CEO is going to continue to weigh on the shares as potential investors will be hesitant to step in without leadership in place.”
Wieczynski said Lopez has a “thorough knowledge” of the company and its business, and he has also earned the respect of employees.
“There are few people at Shuffle Master who have better industry contacts,” Wieczynski said. “And having worked his way through the organization, Mr. Lopez will clearly understand all of the moving parts and have a relatively short learning curve.”
In a statement, the company said independent director Garry Saunders was named permanent chairman of the board. Saunders has served as interim nonexecutive chairman since April.
“David has proven to be a dedicated and effective leader since joining Shuffle Master,” Sanders said in the statement. “His thorough knowledge of our business and the gaming industry make him uniquely capable of leading the company during this transition period.”
Roth Capital Markets gaming analyst Todd Eilers also thought Lopez could step in as Shuffle Master’s CEO.
“The company is in good hands with Mr. Lopez at the helm and he would be an excellent choice as permanent CEO should the board not find an exceptional candidate over the next couple of quarters,” Eilers said.
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