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Cosmopolitan needs its ‘own personality,’ says outgoing CEO

Updated May 12, 2022 - 9:31 am

The “Act of Appreciation,” as Bill McBeath called it, was also the final act for the outgoing Cosmopolitan CEO.

McBeath announced a $27 million jackpot for all Cosmopolitan employees at the Chelsea on Wednesday afternoon. About 3,000 of those 5,000 Cosmopolitan staffers were at the venue. Not since The Killers leapt into “Mr. Brightside” a few weeks ago has the Chelsea heard such a roar.

The bonuses are issued just as MGM Resorts International is finishing off its purchase of the property from The Blackstone Group. A $5K windfall, especially one announced totally out of the dark, is wonderful. But what would McBeath say to any of those 5,000 employees who might be concerned about new owners taking over a successful resort?

”I think MGM has demonstrated they’re more of an institutional company with a lot of different brands, and obviously have a lot of experience operating in Las Vegas,” McBeath said following the event. ” (MGM Resorts Chairman) Bill Hornbuckle is a very intelligent and talented CEO. In talking to him, he understands this brand, and he understands its culture … It has to have its own identity and personality.”

McBeath said the sale of the property is due to close Tuesday. The Nevada Gaming Commission is to rule on the property’s licensing on May 19.

Hornbuckle has said Cosmopolitan should be part of the City Center resort cluster, as it was envisioned. McBeath knows the neighborhood. He was president of Aria from its planning stages, through its December 2009 opening until December 2012.

McBeath was asked what advice he’d give to the incoming management team.

“I would try to understand all the different static strategies, processes and marketing that is generated the returns that this property is done,” the executive said. “This property is making more money per rooom than any other casino in Las Vegas. That’s not by luck.”

MGM Resorts has snared an all-star lineup of restaurants (26 venues that serve food, ranging from Eggslut to STK), the re-energized Marquee Nightclub/Dayclub, The Barbershop grooming and grooving haven, the “Opium”/SuperFrico pairing and its cast of Spiegelworld characters, and also a busy headlining venue in the Chelsea.

McBeath is not specifying his long-term plans. He’ll be off the Cosmo property when the deal closes. He’s helping Blackstone map its strategies for its hotels in Australia. His future in Vegas will include “a lot of golf.”

Significantly, McBeath is an advisor for the Rio. The exec waving goodbye to Cosmopolitan employees with a $27 million parting gift is not finished in Las Vegas. We will feel his influence again, believe it.

Those awards

Prior to the $5K announcement, McBeath and Cosmopolitan Chief People Officer Daniel Espin announced two special Ultimate Core Awards for longtime employees. First-day employee and server at Wicked Spoon Samira Harbali won a five-night stay at Grand Wailea in Maui. Staci Stafford, an 11-year staffer from housekeeping (or room stylist, in Cosmo-speak), won a four-night stay at Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.

“I just remember, from my first night, this was a special place,” Harbali said. “I don’t know what else to say. I am so happy, and I am going to Maui!”

Ann-Margret to be honored

UNLV is honoring Ann-Margret with an honorary doctorate Saturday during commencement ceremonies at the Thomas & Mack Center. The entertainment legend co-starred with Elvis Presley in “Viva Las Vegas,” of course. Ann-Margret, 81, also headlined for decades on the Strip, at such famous hotel-casinos as the Riviera, the Dunes, Las Vegas Hilton and Caesars Palace.

In 2021, Ann-Margret was inducted into the UNLV College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame. Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Diana Ross, Anthony Zuiker, Siegfried and Roy, Guy Fieri and Jimmy Kimmel are the luminaries also honored by the university. At her College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame induction in April 2021, Ann-Margret said of live performance, “When I get onstage. Wow! … I love being fed by the audience.”

Gibbons unplugged

Owners had to unplug the club’s phone when handling requests for access to the Billy F. Gibbons’ May 26 performance at the Sand Dollar Lounge Downtown grand opening, Club co-owner Anthony Jamison shared that morsel during a duck-in to the Plaza club on Wednesday. Nonstop calls were coming in for some Gibbons/Franky Perez action. No luck, folks. The show is VIP only. But the overall schedule at the place is cracking. The new Sand Dollar has been busy late, in its first few nights, which we like.

Cool Hang Alert

The Amp at Craig Ranch in North Las Vegas is peppering its spring and schedule with a diverse group of headliners. Friday night it’s singer/songwriter Phoebe Bridges. Doors 6 p.m., show 8 p.m., tickets range from $60-$70 (not including fees). Bridges is requiring proof of COVID vaccine or a negative COVID test result (PCR preferred/Antigen accepted) within 48 hours of the event for admission. Masks encouraged.

Down the line at The Amp, Lord Huron is May 17, Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals with Shady Graves on May 26. Drill deeper at jabment.com.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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