MGM Resorts International has named Bill Hornbuckle as acting CEO and President and Paul Salem as Chairman of the Board after former Chairman and CEO Jim Murren announced his immediate departure in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Murren announced in February that he would step down from the role at the expiry of his current contract and once a successor has been found, but MGM issued a statement late Sunday (US time) in which it revealed, “In light of the public health crisis gripping the nation and the travel industry, [Murren] has vacated the position as of today so as to provide continuity of leadership for the Company.”
Hornbuckle, MGM’s long-serving President and COO, now takes over the role of Acting CEO while Salem, a member of the board and Chair of the real estate committee of MGM Resorts, which is in the process of executing the company’s “asset light” strategy, will now chair the MGM board.
“The nation is facing an unprecedented crisis, causing the travel and hospitality industry to grind to a near halt,” Salem said.
“It is clear that once the threat to the public health has subsided and we are ready to reopen our resorts and casinos, it will take an incredible effort to ramp back up.
“We believe continued steady, skilled leadership is needed in this time of great upheaval and uncertainty.”
Added Murren, “I fully support accelerating the planned leadership transition to help MGM Resorts address the rapidly changing environment. I have great confidence in Bill Hornbuckle and the management team to lead MGM Resorts at this critical juncture, as we have together through numerous hardships of the past. I will continue to dedicate my efforts to help during this uncertain time, and I will be assisting the State of Nevada in its crisis response and recovery efforts.”