U.S.-based casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd says the firm’s board of directors and its top executives have agreed to forego between 33 percent and 100 percent of their salary for the remainder of 2020 in exchange for restricted shares of the company’s common stock. Such restricted stock will vest in full on December 31, 2020, according to company filings.
The measure is part of the group’s “strategic plan to navigate through the financial downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” stated Wynn Resorts in a written announcement on Tuesday.
According to the document, the group’s chief executive, Matt Maddox (pictured in a file photo), has agreed to forego 100 percent of his salary in exchange for shares for the remainder of the year. On Monday, Mr Maddox received 32,071 shares of Wynn Resorts stock, according to a regulatory filing.
Wynn Resorts is the parent of Macau-based gaming operator Wynn Macau Ltd. The latter company manages two properties: Wynn Macau in the downtown peninsula district, and Wynn Palace casino resort on Cotai.
Casino venues in Macau closed for a 15-day period in February following a government order. Wynn Resorts said on February 6 that the temporary closure of its two casinos in Macau was costing the group between US$2.4 million to US$2.6 million a day, largely comprised of payroll to the group’s 12,200 employees in that market.
In Tuesday’s release, Wynn Resorts said the cash savings arising from the executive salary reductions “will be used to offset ongoing employee payroll and other expenses”. The company did not disclose the expected amount of savings from its latest measure.
The company had announced last week it would “pay all of its employees, including their average tips,” after it closed its resorts in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Boston, in Massachusetts, as part of efforts to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus associated with the Covid-19 disease.
Wynn Resorts said on March 15 it would close its Las Vegas properties for two weeks to contain the spread of the virus, but after that announcement the governor of Nevada ordered casinos in the state to close for at least 30 days.
In an interview with business news television channel CNBC, Mr Maddox said he learned from the financial crisis in 2008 that it pays off in the long run to retain employees, even if it represents a financial cost to the company in the short term.
“I can’t imagine going out (to) rehire and retrain 13,000 people. I’d rather keep the knowledge and experience that we have now in the service standards,” he told the media outlet.
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