Las Vegas Sands Corp. will have new president by the end of the year, but company Chairman Sheldon Adelson squashed media reports that he would be giving up the CEO duties any time soon.
In a statement released late Wednesday night, the 80-year-old billionaire invoked author Mark Twain, saying “the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”
However, Las Vegas Sands President Michael Leven said he’ll retire at the end of 2014 when his current contract expires.
A committee of the company’s board will conduct a search for a new president. Leven, who will turn 77 later this year, also serves as Las Vegas Sands’ chief operating officer.
Leven was a retired hotel company executive and an independent board member when Adelson asked him to become president in 2009 after firing longtime company president Bill Weidner during a management dispute.
Leven agreed to a contract extension in 2011. During his tenure, Las Vegas Sands expanded its footprint in Macau and opened the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The company has a market capitalization of $60.2 billion, the highest in the gaming industry.
More than 75 percent of the company’s overall revenue comes from Macau and Singapore.
“I’m grateful to Sheldon and his family for allowing me to help him lead the company during such a tremendous period of growth,” Leven said in a statement. “For me, this is truly a storybook ending to a more than 50-year career in the hospitality industry. I wouldn’t want it to end any other way.”
Adelson and his family control roughly 53 percent of Las Vegas Sands.
The company has experienced some executive upheaval in the past year. CFO Ken Kay left last July, and Chris Cahill, the company’s former executive vice president of global operations, resigned in March.
Las Vegas Sands President of Global Gaming Operations Rob Goldstein, 59, remains the longest-serving company executive other than Adelson, who is considered the world’s ninth richest billionaire by Forbes Magazine with a net worth of $36.2 billion.
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported Adelson was considering bringing in a new CEO when Leven retired.
In the statement, Adelson said he has no desire to step aside and turn over the company’s direction to new person, saying he has no plans to slow down.
“We have taken an important leadership position in the gaming and hospitality industry, and I plan on spending year after year building on that success,” Adelson said. “I am intently focused on building on the momentum we have established over the past several years.”
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