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September 26, 2021

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executive pay:

Harrah’s execs dominate top spots on compensation list

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Gary Loveman

The closing of the high-profile deal that turned casino giant Harrah’s Entertainment from a publicly traded company into a private business resulted in six of the company’s executives landing in the top 10 of In Business Las Vegas’ list of highest-paid business leaders this year.

Gary Loveman, CEO of Harrah’s, landed the top spot on the list with $92.3 million in total compensation in 2008, unseating Station Casinos CEO Frank Fertitta III, the 2007 leader who dropped to No. 11 this year.

Loveman and his colleagues received stock options in the $30.7 billion acquisition of Harrah’s by private equity firms Apollo Global Management LP and Texas Pacific Group.

Fertitta had total compensation of $125.9 million last year, the highest amount reported on the list since it was first published in 2002. This year, Fertitta had reported compensation of $3.4 million.

The list was compiled by In Business researchers Ulf Buchholz and Marcia Mohr and is based on total compensation packages of publicly reporting companies for the 2008 fiscal year in filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Details on how compensation was calculated — including salary, bonus payments, incentive plans, deferred payments, stock options and other compensation that can include a variety of company perks — are explained in a primer here.

Harrah’s dominance of the top of this year’s list is similar to Station Casinos executives’ placement on the list from fiscal year 2007. When the fiscal year 2007 list was compiled, Station executives held six of the top 10 positions on the list as a result of stock options exercised after the locals casino giant was taken private.

This year’s list includes 42 executives, although the list of highest-paid executives that will be published at the end of 2009 in the In Business Book of Business Lists will have 171 names. The cutoff point was compensation of $100,000. There also were 171 names on last year’s list, also cut off at $100,000.

Harrah’s executives joining Loveman at the top of this year’s list were J. Carlos Tolosa, president of Harrah’s Eastern Division, $15.7 million, at No. 2; Charles Atwood, vice chairman and former chief financial officer, $13.1 million, No. 3; Thomas Jenkin, president of Harrah’s Western Division, $7.9 million, No. 7; Jonathan Halkyard, senior vice president and chief financial officer, $5.5 million, No. 8; and John Payne, president of Harrah’s Central Division, $4.3 million, No. 10.

Four familiar names in the gaming industry filled out the rest of the list’s top 10. They include MGM Mirage president and CEO Jim Murren, $9.9 million, No. 4; Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn, $8.5 million, No. 5; Bally Technologies president and CEO Richard Haddrill, $8.3 million, No. 6; and Wynn Resorts chief operating officer Marc Schorr, $5.3 million, No. 9.

The effects of the recession are evident in this year’s list.

Forty-two executives had compensation of more than $1 million this year compared with 53 in 2008. Loveman’s 2008 total would have ranked third in 2007, but places 2 through 10 wouldn’t have even made last year’s top 10. The total compensation of the top 10 recipients this year was 67.4 percent lower than the top 10 of 2008.

As usual, the gaming industry dominated the compensation list. In the list of 42 executives, six of them, or 15.3 percent, were from nongaming companies. The next highest industry represented is utilities. Last year, banking industry executives were most represented behind the gaming industry.

The highest nongaming executive to make the list was Farid Suleman, CEO of Citadel Broadcasting Corp., No. 18 with compensation of $2.2 million. He was No. 12 on the list and also the top nongaming executive last year.

The highest-paid woman on the list was Linda Chen, president of Wynn International Marketing, No. 21, with compensation of $2.1 million. She was No. 22 and the top woman on the list last year.

Only one other woman made the list, Denise Barton, former senior vice president and chief financial officer of American Casino & Entertainment Properties, No. 39, $1.1 million. She was No. 85 last year.

On the list of 171 highest paid executives appearing later this year, 18 (10.5 percent of the total) are women compared with seven of 171 (4.1 percent) last year.

Several executives who made this year’s list are no longer with their respective companies.

Terry Lanni, the former CEO of MGM Mirage who retired in November, is No. 12 on the list with compensation of $3.3 million.

Other executives who made the list who no longer are with their respective companies include John Boushy, former CEO and president of Ameristar Casinos, $3 million, No. 13; Wade Hundley, former president of Pinnacle Entertainment, $2.5 million, No. 16; Bill Weidner, former president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands, $2.3 million, No. 17; Brad Stone, former president of global operations for Las Vegas Sands, $2.1 million, No. 20; Richard Brown, former president and CEO of American Casino and Entertainment Properties, $1.2 million, No. 31; and Barton at No. 39.

Several high-profile executives made the list. Bill Boyd, chairman of Boyd Gaming, is at No. 25, $1.6 million, while Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands, is at No. 28, $1.3 million.

Four executives made this year’s list for the first time.

Joining Payne of Harrah’s in that category are Andrew Kwasniewski, president and chief operating officer of Hard Rock Hotel Holdings, $1.5 million, No. 26; Matt Maddox, chief financial officer of Wynn Resorts, $1.3 million, No. 29; and Jeffrey Cecarelli, senior vice president of service delivery and operations for NV Energy, $1.1 million, No. 36.

Of the 42 names on the list, 23 are employed by the so-called “Big 6” casino companies based in Southern Nevada.

Six of the 23 are from Harrah’s, five are from Wynn Resorts, four are from Las Vegas Sands, three each are from MGM Mirage and Boyd Gaming and two are from Station Casinos.

Although the In Business list ranks executives by total compensation, it also lists each executive’s annual base salary as reported to the SEC.

Wynn had the top salary in 2008 at $3.3 million. The rest of the top 10 by annual salary were Fertitta, $2.3 million; Loveman and Lanni, $2 million; Schorr, $1.9 million; Murren and MGM Mirage chief design and construction officer Bobby Baldwin, $1.5 million; Atwood and Suleman, $1.3 million; and Jenkin, $1.2 million.

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