How These 3 Innovative Leaders Are Helping Las Vegas Sands Win

With strong growth in Asia over the last few years and sound investment decisions that have kept investors wanting more, shares of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS  )  have risen more than 4,800% from March 2009 to March 2014. However, a drop from highs of around $87 last month to a current price of around $74 may prove to be a buying opportunity for those investors who believe in the company's future. Part of that belief will come from knowing the management team. Here are three of the key leaders of Las Vegas Sands, and the decisions they are making to lead the casino company to profits.


Shares of LVS were up more than 4800% from March 2009 to March 2014, though a recent drop leaves investors with a potential buying opportunity. Chart: Yahoo! Finance

Las Vegas Sands operates properties in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Singapore, Macau, and hopefully soon in Japan. The Venetian and The Palazzo resort casinos and the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas are holding up the U.S. side of the company's operations, with a small sum added by the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Eastern Pennsylvania.

However, The Venetian Macao, the Sands Macao, the Four Seasons Hotel Macao, and the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore are contributing the bulk of the company's earnings, with Asian operations accounting for 88% of the company's revenue. Compare this to a company like MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM  ) , which has not made as solid of a bet on Asia and only takes 37% of its total revenue from Asia. With less of a boost in revenue from the Asian growth market, MGM Resorts had little more than half of the first-quarter year-over-year total revenue growth that Las Vegas Sands had, as the companies reported revenue growth of 12% and 21.4%, respectively.

Sheldon Adelson made headlines earlier this year when he said that he would invest $10bln in Japan if need be. Photo: Bloomberg

Sands' fearless leader: CEO Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson is known for reshaping Las Vegas into the international business and leisure destination it is today by creating resorts that offer not just gaming, but an amazing collection of experiences like celebrity chef restaurants, world-class entertainment, and more. With an entrepreneurial spirit, leading innovation, and savvy investment decisions, Adelson has led Las Vegas Sands to success not only in Las Vegas, but increasingly around the world as well.

Before he transformed Vegas, Adelson gained experience at more than 50 companies. This includes his creation of the trade-show company COMDEX, which he sold in 1995 to help fund the creation of the $1.5 billion Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.

Adelson's international business skills have not gone unnoticed. In 2008, Adelson was appointed to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations under President Bush, where he provided policy advice on trade matters to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. An example of these savvy business skills is his ability to lead the company toward new trends. For example, he switched the company's focus away from VIP (high-roller) gamers toward mass-market consumers, and this served as a key profit driver in 2013.


Mass market table revenue was up 58% for Sands in 2013. Source: LVS 2013 earnings presentation


Las Vegas Sands has gained more on mass-market gaming than any other casino in Macau. Source: LVS 2013 earnings presentation

Continuing the entrepreneurial spirit: COO Michael Leven
Michael Leven served on the Las Vegas Sands board for five years until his promotion to chief operating officer in 2009. He is now responsible for the overall operations of the company's U.S. and international locations, with a position right below Adelson himself. Like his boss, Leven also has an entrepreneurial spirit and a history of international business success. He co-founded the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, which in 1989 had 12 members and now has more than 9,300 members.

With over 48 years of experience in the industry, he was most recently the founder and CEO of US Franchise Systems, a hotel brand and operator which he started in 1995. He has also served as the president and COO of Holiday Inn Worldwide (owned by International Hotels Group), president of Days Inn of America, (owned by Wyndham Worldwide Corporation) and president of Americana Hotels.

Leven has even been on the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International hot list of 25 Most Extraordinary Sales & Marketing Minds in Hospitality & Travel. Marina Bay Sands Singapore has proven to be a cash driver for Las Vegas Sands and a source of inspiration as the company has turned the casino into a fully integrated hotel and resort with incredible features, no doubt helped by Leven's years of hotel experience. 


Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore. Photo: Las Vegas Sands

Continued expansion internationally: President of global gaming operations Robert Goldstein
Robert Goldstein was integral in helping to build Las Vegas Sands' two key resorts in Las Vegas, The Venetian and The Palazzo. Since then, he has taken on the focus of overseeing the company's global operations.

Goldstein helped to lure celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, and Pierre Selvaggio to open new restaurants at the company's properties, a boom to the company's business model as it seeks to differentiate itself from other companies by offering more than just gaming. He was also the one who helped to bring in industry-leading entertainers such as the Blue Man Group. This has helped Las Vegas Sands become internationally recognized as a leader in destination resorts. Goldstein is most actively involved in helping plan the company's entertainment, restaurant, and retail offerings in Asia. With new casino resort The Praisian on Macau's Cotai strip opening up next year, Goldstein's vast expertise will be needed.


Source: Las Vegas Sands 2013 earnings report

Foolish investor takeaway: Sands Leadership's entrepreneurial spirit is driving the company
With great leadership and smart execution, as well as a management team that stays tuned to industry trends that have continued to spur growth, it's no wonder that Las Vegas Sands has been incredibly profitable in the last few years and that its investors have been rewarded with so much share price growth since 2009.

Because of this growth, Las Vegas Sands is not the cheapest way to get into the gaming market. However, with a recent price drop, the company's continued dominance of the Cotai strip in Macau, the new Parisian resort coming next year, and other trends such as more revenue coming from mass-market gamers, this company still looks to be a buy right now. With leaders like those discussed above, investors should feel comfortable that the Las Vegas Sands will continue to boom.

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  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2014, at 11:36 AM, blackjackkid wrote:

    The easy money has been made on LVS, the market cap is evidence of that. Much rather own MGM with a smaller market cap and Vegas turning along with new properties coming on-line in Cotai and Nat Harbor. LVS will do fine but MGM should outperform percentage-wise due to it's smaller size imo

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