Caesars Entertainment Names Tony Rodio Its New CEO
Caesars Entertainment announced former Tropicana Entertainment president Tony Rodio as its next CEO on Tuesday. Rodio replaces Mark Frissora, who led the Las Vegas casino company since 2015.
James Hunt, Chairman of Caesars’ board, announced the move: “Tony brings to Caesars a track record of operational excellence, proven leadership and deep industry knowledge and expertise.”
Hunt added, “Tony is a respected and highly accomplished executive who has successfully built and grown businesses in our industry throughout his career.”
“We are confident that Tony has the vision and depth of operating experience to lead our talented senior management team as Caesars continues its long history of delighting our guests, fostering a welcoming and rewarding workplace for our team members and creating value for shareholders and other stakeholders. Our entire Board looks forward to his leadership in evaluating and executing the Company’s go-forward plans.”
Tony Rodio Biography
The 60-year old Tony Rodio most recently served as the CEO of Affinity Gaming (since October 2018). Rodio has 37 years of experience in the casino industry, serving at Harrah’s Entertainment (Caesars), Trump Marina Hotel Casino, The Atlantic City Hilton (Atlantic Club), and Penn National Gaming.
From 2011 to 2018, Tony Rodio served at the CEO and president of Tropicana Entertainment. He oversaw significant capital investments and saw to a massive increase in earnings.
Rodio also served on the boards of a number of charitable and professional organizations, including Atlantic City Alliance, United Way of Atlantic County, the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming Hospitality & Tourism, the Casino Association of New Jersey, the Casino Association of Indiana, and AtlantiCare Charitable Foundation.
Tony Rodio holds a Bachelor of Science from Rider University and a Master of Business Administration from Monmouth University.
Carl Icahn Backed Tony Rodio
Major Caesars investor Carl Icahn backed Tony Rodio for the chief executive position. Icann owned Tropicana Entertainment at the time Rodio served as president of the company.
Carl Icahn bought Tropicana Atlantic City in a bankruptcy auction in 2010, then led a 5-year turnaround of the casino. During that time, Tony Rodio served as a key contributor.
The change in leadership comes two months after Carl Icahn disclosed that he bought 9% to 10% of Caesars Entertainment. Other top investors, such an Canyon Partners and Oppenheimer Funds, called on a bold new direction for Caesars.
Mark Frissora Leaves Caesars
Mark Frissora announced his plans to leave the company months in advance of Carl Icahn’s purchase of company shares. Frissora led the company through a difficult bankruptcy reorganization phase.
During that time, Caesars fought a lawsuit filed by junior lienholders who argued the $18 billion CEOC reorganization was unfair. Eventually, Caesars settled with the disgruntled shareholders on a new plan that included $5 billion in sweeteners.
After the bankruptcy phase ended, Mark Frissora charted an international course for Caesars. He invested capital in the Japanese casino application process, while signing deals for non-gaming resorts in the United Arab Emirates.
Caesars Entertainment’s Revenue Troubles
Back in the United States, Caesars continued to have troubles. The company announced the closure of the Tunica Roadhouse Casino late last year, while dealing with flagging revenues in its core Las Vegas Strip resorts.
Though Caesars Entertainment made aggressive moves to shore up its US sports betting business, the overall picture was disappointing. Caesars still has 35 US-based casinos, but big shareholders wanted stark action to change the company’s fortunes. Therefore, Frissora announced his resignation in the fall of 2018.
Tony Rodio on Caesars CEO Gig
New Caesars chief executive Tony Rodio released a statement on Tuesday, saying, “I have long admired Caesars and am optimistic about the Company’s future prospects. Our industry is going through a time of transition and opportunity and I look forward to leading Caesars’ exceptional team through the Company’s next phase of growth, innovation and value creation.”