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MGM Mirage exec to retire Nov. 30

Updated Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 | 10:08 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Terry Lanni, former chairman of the board and CEO of then-MGM Mirage, poses at the Bellagio in September 2007. Construction cranes from the CityCenter project can be seen at right.

MGM Mirage chairman and chief executive officer Terry Lanni is retiring, the company announced this afternoon.

The resignation is effective Nov. 30, but Lanni will remain a member of the company's board of directors. Lanni recommended that Jim Murren, the company's president and chief operating officer, succeed him as chairman and CEO.

"I have served as chairman for more than 13 years and have seen this company grow from owning one resort in Las Vegas to 17 resorts internationally, with joint ventures around the world," Lanni said in a statement. "I believe it is now time to step aside from full-time engagement and turn over the reins to the new generation."

Terry Lanni, 65, joined MGM Grand Inc. in June 1995 as president and chief executive officer and a member of the board. The next month he was named to his current position.

Lanni guided MGM Mirage through mergers with Mirage Resorts (2000) and Mandalay Resort Group (2005). The company's board will formally name Lanni's successor at a future meeting.

"As a direct result of Terry's leadership, we have a remarkable depth of seasoned management and I am confident of our company's ability to manage through the current economy and emerge stronger, more vigorous and well-positioned to capitalize on future opportunities as the economy rebounds from its current slowdown," Murren said in a statement.

The announcement came hours before a University of Southern California spokesman said Lanni does not have a master's degree in business from the school, as his corporate biography has long claimed.

USC spokesman James Grant said Thursday that Lanni completed classes toward the degree between 1965 and 1967 but never graduated.

MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said Lanni believes he was awarded an honorary degree at a ceremony at the school in 1992. But Grant says records show no honorary master's degrees in business have been awarded at the school since 1933.

The Wall Street Journal quoted Lanni as saying the issue with USC had noting to do with his decision to retire.

"This is not health related," Lanni said in a letter announcing his retirement to employees. "I am not running for public office anywhere; I am not taking over any other company, gaming or otherwise, and no, I'm not going to be on next season's 'Dancing With the Stars.'"

"I simply believe that change is inevitable and this is the right time for me to do this."

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