Caesars appoints new executives to lead expansion

U.S.-based casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp announced on Thursday the appointment of two senior executives to “help lead the company’s growth”.

Marco Roca will join Caesars Entertainment as president for global development, and will be reporting to the company’s president and chief executive Mark Frissora.

Michael Daly will join the company as senior vice president for strategy and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Mr Daly will report to the company’s chief financial officer, Eric Hession.

Both appointments are subject to customary gaming regulatory approvals, the firm said in a press release.

“We have great opportunities to accelerate our top line growth by taking advantage of our significantly reduced balance sheet leverage and strong free cash flow profile,” Mr Frissora said in a prepared statement.

“The additions of Marco Roca and Michael Daly will bring even more focus to our domestic and international network expansion initiatives, and help Caesars Entertainment unlock new growth channels,” he added.

Mr Roca is described as having more than 30 years of hotel and gaming development experience. Most recently, he served as executive vice president and chief development officer for Hard Rock International Inc.

At Caesars Entertainment, Mr Roca will oversee all domestic and international development activity, “including the pursuit and execution of new markets as well as new projects within the company’s existing property footprint”.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Roca said: “I am excited to help lead the expansion of the network to new markets around the world and to help increase productivity of underutilised assets in priority markets, such as Las Vegas.”

Mr Daly joins Caesars Entertainment from GE Capital, where he was responsible for strategy, M&A and corporate development. At Caesars Entertainment, he will be responsible for defining and executing the company’s growth strategies, including joint ventures, strategic alliances and M&A.

“The gaming entertainment industry is evolving, and Caesars is now poised to expand in both the core gaming and hospitality business as well as into adjacent businesses,” Mr Daly said in a statement.

Caesars Entertainment has said it plans to expand its business after its largest unit emerges from bankruptcy later this year. The company has struggled since a US$30-billion leveraged buyout, led by private equity firms Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG Capital Management LLP, in 2008.

In January 2015, the company put its largest division, Caesars Entertainment Operating Co, into bankruptcy – the unit had a US$18.4 billion debt load. The parent company has said it expects its unit’s restructuring to be completed by the end of the third quarter this year.

As part of the bankruptcy restructuring, Caesars Entertainment is creating a real estate investment trust (REIT) that will own many of the company’s casino properties, including the flagship Caesars Palace (pictured) in Las Vegas.

Caesars Entertainment has shown interest in a Japan casino licence. Steven Tight, president of international development for the U.S.-based casino group, told GGRAsia in May that access to cash for a Japan project “wouldn’t be an issue”.

He noted that the company had the potential to compete for a licence in a large city or in one of Japan’s non-metropolitan regions.

In February, Caesars Entertainment reported a full-year 2016 net loss of US$2.7 billion.