Caesars Entertainment Corp, a United States-based casino operator, has confirmed the appointment of Anthony Rodio (pictured) as chief executive, in succession to Mark Frissora.
Mr Rodio – who had been CEO of boutique U.S. casino operator Affinity Gaming since October last year – will be moving over to his new post “during the next 30 days,” said Caesars Entertainment in a Tuesday press release.
“Tony is a respected and highly-accomplished executive who has successfully built and grown businesses in our industry throughout his career,” said James Hunt, Caesars Entertainment’s chairman, in prepared comments contained in the press release.
“We are confident that Tony has the vision and depth of operating experience to lead our talented senior management team,” added Mr Hunt.
Prior to working at Affinity Gaming, Mr Rodio served as president, CEO and a board member of U.S. casino operator Tropicana Entertainment Inc.
On Tuesday Caesars Entertainment also announced the creation of what it termed a “transaction committee” to “oversee the company’s evaluation of ongoing efforts in creating additional shareholder value”. The newly-created committee is composed of four independent company directors, including two recently appointed by activist investor Carl Icahn.
The Caesars brand is involved in a foreigner-only casino project in Seoul, South Korea, and the group is pitching for a Japan casino licence.
But following an extended period of corporate turmoil – including exit from bankruptcy in October 2017 – Caesars Entertainment has been the subject of rumours regarding possible merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. That follows recent moves by Mr Icahn to increase his holding in the firm.
Japanese brokerage Nomura said in a Monday note prior to the confirmation of Mr Rodio’s new role: “We view his appointment as a short-term solution that does not signal whether an M&A transaction will occur or not.”
The institution added: “Mr Rodio spent the majority of his career in both finance and casino operations, mostly Atlantic City. He has a solid reputation as a property manager and ran an efficient operation at both Harrah’s casinos and the Tropicana.”
But analysts Harry Curtis, Daniel Adam and Brian Dobson added: “Mr Rodio has less experience than necessary running upscale casinos – catering to high-end customers is key in Las Vegas.”
Mr Rodio’s predecessor as Caesars Entertainment CEO was Mark Frissora, who worked previously as CEO of the Hertz Corp, a conglomerate with a focus on car rentals.
Nomura stated regarding the incoming Caesars Entertainment CEO: “Mr Rodio’s appointment signals that Carl Icahn’s near-term priority is to find an M&A solution for Caesars Entertainment, which includes exploring all possible options including a single sale, or breaking Caesars Entertainment into pieces.”
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Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings