The newly appointed Chief Operating Officer of SJM Holdings, Frank McFadden, says his mandate at the company is to implement change.
Speaking exclusively to Inside Asian Gaming after it was confirmed on Wednesday that he would fill the role previously held by Louis Ng, who stepped down earlier in the week, McFadden outlined the qualities and ambition he will bring to the role, specifically, “Unparalleled industry experience, reputation, integrity and complete objectivity.”
Explaining that he took the role out of a “sense of duty,” following recent talk that he may in fact have been considering retirement, McFadden also acknowledged he was accepting significant responsibility at a time of “great transition for SJM.”
SJM has seen its share of Macau GGR fall from 21.7% just five years ago to a new low of just 13.3% in the most recent quarter, while the company also finds itself facing boardroom uncertainty following a January 2019 power play by Pansy Ho, daughter of company founder Dr Stanley Ho, that saw her take command of a controlling interest in parent company STDM.
“We will be in market recovery mode post COVID-19,” McFadden explained.
“We will be opening our first Cotai project, Grand Lisboa Palace, and we will be engaged in the process of license renewal. These are the three exciting challenges we face.
“My mandate is for change. This will be a positive for SJM.
“As Confucius said, ‘When the wind of change blows, some people build walls, others build windmills.’ I am pro windmills.”
McFadden revealed his role as COO will also see him join, as an advisor, the committee of executive directors overseeing the development and operations of Grand Lisboa Palace.
“The culture of SJM is one of consensual decision making,” he said. “I endorse this, it adds rigor to thinking and decision making.”
Asked for his thoughts on the passing of Dr Stanley Ho, the man who first lured McFadden from Sands Macao to Grand Lisboa in 2006, he replied, “I remember his great sense of humor. He loved my irreverence.
“When I joined the company he said, ‘Frank, do you know I am 1/16 Irish?’ I answered, ‘Stanley, everyone is 1/16 Irish.’
“I can hear his laughter, even now.”