DIRECTOR AND CEO
CEO AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
POWER SCORE: 2,336
POSITION LAST YEAR: 11
CLAIMS TO FAME
• Has overseen a refreshing of the Wynn Resorts board following Steve Wynn’s departure
• Long-time Wynn Resorts servant, having joined the company in 2002
IF there is one positive Matt Maddox can take out of his first two years in charge of Wynn Resorts it’s that things can only get better from here.
Since stepping into the breach after company founder Steve Wynn stepped down in February 2018 amid allegations of sexual harassment, Maddox has led the company through multiple lawsuits, a campaign by its largest shareholder against various members of the board, questions over its corporate culture and two separate regulatory investigations into the company’s suitability to hold state gaming licenses.
But finally there is more than a little light at the end of the tunnel.
At a corporate level, the Wynn Resorts board bears little resemblance to the one accused of turning the other cheek to the indiscretions of its founder, with former Harrah’s boss Phil Satre the new Chairman and four of its nine members now female.
Discussing Wynn Resorts’ culture, Satre commented earlier this year that he had “never seen a company respond so quickly and decisively to adversity as this one,” adding he was “confident we have found our way and excited about the future.”
Maddox also deserves credit for putting an end to long-running legal battles last year at a time when further negative publicity was the last thing the company needed. They included the decision by Wynn Resorts to drop all claims against Kazuo Okada stemming from his 2012 dismissal from the board, and a US$2.6 billion settlement agreement with Okada’s former companies, Aruze USA and Universal Entertainment, relating to the forced redemption of their shares.
Not all settlements have gone so smoothly. In February 2019, the Nevada Gaming Commission hit Wynn Resorts with a record US$20 million fine for its initial failure to investigate the sexual harassment claims made against Steve Wynn by multiple employees – the largest fine ever imposed by the state of Nevada.
Two months later, the Massachusetts Gaming Board issued a US$35 million fine, plus a US$500,000 fine for Maddox himself, in a hearing over the same matter. Crucially, though, in both instances Wynn Resorts was deemed fit to retain its gaming license, allowing the company to proceed with the June launch of its US$2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor IR.
Maddox wasn’t shy in offering his own thoughts on his achievements since taking over at Wynn during the Massachusetts hearings.
“I believe that I’m the exact right person, at this point in time, to make Wynn Resorts a great company,” he said in his testimony. “I think you will hear that Matt Maddox is an extraordinary leader because of what he’s done. I would like to be judged based on when I took over and the actions that were done.”
Certainly the company’s recent financials haven’t hurt Maddox’s cause. Despite the challenges faced, Wynn Resorts enjoyed a 5.1% increase in revenues from its Las Vegas operations to US$464.1 million in 2Q19 and a 1.0% increase in Macau to US$1.18 billion, both driven by improvements in the mass market segment.
The company has also announced plans to expand its Macau flagship Wynn Palace, suggesting it is now well and truly time to put the past behind.
For the full list of 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.