Scientific Game

2017 Inside Asian Gaming Power 50: Number 34 - Linda Chen and Ian Coughlan

Tuesday, 05 December 2017 12:51
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34 Linda Chen

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND COO
Wynn Macau

POWER SCORE
770

LAST YEAR
27

CLAIMS TO FAME
• Go-to person for marketing and strategic development of Wynn Macau since inception
• Native Chinese with deep experience in international marketing


34 Ian Coughlan

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND PRESIDENT
Wynn Macau

POWER SCORE
770

LAST YEAR
-

CLAIMS TO FAME
• More than 30 years’ industry experience including 10 years with Wynn Resorts
• Boasts a strong mass market pedigree

But for the other, both Linda Chen and Ian Coughlan would feature higher on our list. Yet, BIG 50 power score points cannibalization aside, these two form a formidable duo for Wynn Macau as it looks to maintain its standing as a luxury leader while positioning itself to take advantage of Macau’s gradual shift to becoming a mass market destination. That’s no easy task.

Both Chen and Coughlin are vital cogs in the Wynn Macau machine, with Chen driving the company’s core VIP segment and Coughlan taking care of business on a macro level – including putting the US$4.2 billion Wynn Palace on the mass market map. As it stands, given the strong resurgence of Macau’s VIP over the past 12 months, the pressure is very much on Coughlan with Nomura Securities analyst Harry Curtis noting that predecessor Gamal Abdelaziz’s departure last October was “an indication that the post-opening ramp of the Palace has been disappointing.

“It will take a long time to build a mass presence at the Palace, which was built more for premium players,” he added.

But Coughlan wasn’t appointed to what is essentially second in charge in Macau behind Steve Wynn himself for no reason. He first joined Wynn Macau in 2007 as Director of Hotel Operations and later that year became President of Wynn Resorts (Macau) SA – presiding over a golden period for Wynn Resorts’ Macau operations. Even with his pedigree, Wynn Palace has been slow to ramp in the mass segment although the recent signs have been encouraging, with mass market revenue growing 5% sequentially in the most recent quarter. That should improve further once the property’s main obstacle – the mass construction that has surrounded its walls via MGM Cotai, Grand Lisboa Palace and the light rail station – start coming on line themselves in 2018.

As for Chen, her track record speaks for itself. Steve Wynn’s right hand woman in China, she has run the marketing and strategic development for Wynn Macau for more than a decade now in which time it has accounted for more than 60% of parent company Wynn Resorts’ total net revenues and EBITDA. As President of Wynn International Marketing she also has been responsible for driving global play for the entire corporation.

A Taiwan native, Chen is known to have a great rapport with Chinese players and had creditable success in the midst of Macau’s protracted revenue slump in building Wynn’s mass-market business without sacrificing anything of the prestige the Wynn name enjoys at the high end.

Like Coughlan, she also brings a wealth of experience to the task, having been involved in the opening of three resorts – The Mirage in 1989, MGM Grand in 1993 and Bellagio in 1998 – that helped define the Las Vegas Strip as we know it. She served as Executive Vice President of International Marketing for Bellagio and went on to serve as Executive Vice President of International Marketing for all of MGM Mirage (now MGM Resorts International). She rejoined Mr Wynn in 2002 and came to Macau when Wynn Resorts won its casino concession that year, overseeing operations ever since.

To return to the full list of 2017 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.

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