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Leadership is important in any business but the gaming industry has been dominated by visionary leaders that come to dominate the industry. From the time of Howard Hughes to the rise of Steve Wynn and more recently Sheldon Adelson, these larger than life figures build monuments that become the face of their empires.
But MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM ) has become a very different company in recent years, becoming a more corporate company with major shareholders not taking on the role of CEO. So, is that an advantage for MGM, and is the current leadership up to the task? I take a look at this along with MGM's opportunity and risks in our new premium report on the stock. Read an excerpt of this report below and find out more about this report by clicking here.
James Murren, a 14-year veteran of the company, leads MGM. Murren played a role in MGM's expansion as CFO from 1998 to 2008, but was equally responsible for the leverage that nearly bankrupted the company during the financial crisis. The challenges the company faced at the time were not uncommon in gaming, and Murren should be credited with bringing in Dubai World as an equity investor in the company and its CityCenter project at the peak of the market, which may have saved the company. Murren is known as a solid operator but isn't nearly the visionary Steve Wynn or Sheldon Adelson is.
The silent hand that has driven MGM since its infancy is that of Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire investor. It was Kerkorian who turned his stake in MGM Studios into the namesake hotel of MGM Resorts. He also played key roles in the company's acquisition binge in the 2000s. But over the past two years, Kerkorian has reduced his stake in MGM, and at the age of 95 it's unlikely he will play a major role in operations going forward. The loss of Kerkorian means that MGM doesn't have a clear guiding voice like most of its large competitors do. This is a disadvantage going forward.
MGM's leadership is solid but not flashy, and has little experience in expanding the company organically. This puts more risk on the company's enormous opportunity on Cotai than its more experienced competitors face.
A closer look at MGM Resorts
When MGM Resorts began constructing the CityCenter in Las Vegas, it was an audacious plan that seemed like a sure bet with its prime location in the center of The Strip. But Las Vegas hit a rough patch during the Great Recession and has yet to fully recover, so MGM has since turned its attention to a new market in Macau. This Chinese gaming enclave now holds the key to the company's future, and a new resort on Cotai may relieve the company from crushing debt. For expert analysis on whether this former high-flying stock can regain its form on the back of a growing presence in Asia, you're invited to check out The Motley Fool's new premium report on MGM Resorts. As an added bonus, you'll receive a full year of key updates and guidance as news develops, so don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.