MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren, who announced this week he will step down after 12 years in the role, has hinted that his future could lie with the company’s Japanese arm.
Murren revealed his shock decision shortly before the release of MGM’s 4Q19 and full year financial results on Thursday, with the board having already formed a committee of independent directors to “promptly identify and evaluate candidates to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer.” Murren has promised to continue as Chairman and CEO until his successor is named.
However, the 58-year-old refused to rule out remaining with MGM when pressed on his future by analysts during the company’s quarterly earnings call and even highlighted Japan – where MGM is a frontrunner to develop an integrated resort in Osaka – as an ongoing interest.
“As it relates to Japan, very likely in May, I will be leading a group of people, including Bill Hornbuckle (MGM President and COO) to speak to the people of Osaka as the Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts about why MGM and ORIX is the preferred partner. Why MGM and ORIX would be the operator that would put Osaka in safe hands. Why MGM Resorts and ORIX are the most responsible, most compliant, most dynamic company,” Murren said.
“And I’m absolutely sure I’m going to be involved in the Japan project. In fact, I’ll probably be even more involved in the Japan project as time goes by.”
Murren was non-committal when asked if he would retain a board position at MGM Resorts, but promised to “help in any way I can” in appointing his successor.
“I serve at the pleasure of the board,” he explained. “I’ve said that I will stay on in whatever capacity. I’m the Chairman [of MGM Resorts, MGM China and MGM Growth Properties) and the CEO, but it’s hard to say what will happen after that. But I do know is that the companies are better positioned now than they have ever been before.”