DIRECTOR AND CEO
CEO AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
POWER SCORE: 1,749
POSITION LAST YEAR:9
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
With the fallout from the Steve Wynn sexual harassment saga now, for the most part, a distant memory, CEO Matt Maddox has finally been able to focus his energies on driving Wynn Resorts to a bright and far less troublesome future. Or at least, that was the plan before COVID-19 brought the industry to a halt.
On 17 March, Wynn became one of the first major US operators to shut down its Las Vegas Strip properties as the virus took hold – initially for two weeks but ultimately for almost three months before reopening with limited operations in early June.
To its credit, the company refrained from furloughing staff during those first few months, keeping around 15,000 employees on full pay through much of May at a cost of around US$250 million. That’s the sort of PR success Wynn has been craving in recent times.
Nevertheless, COVID-19 has hit the company hard both domestically and abroad. Group-wide revenues in the second quarter of 2020 fell 94.8% year-on-year to just US$85.7 million with a loss of US$637.6 million. Incredibly, low volume and bad luck saw the company’s Macau casinos – Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace – combine for a loss of US$15 million on actual casino play, an unheard of occurrence over a three month period.
In response, Wynn Resorts moved quickly to shore up liquidity with a US$600 million notes offering in May, followed by two offerings by Wynn Macau Ltd in June and August totaling around US$1.6 billion combined.
It was also revealed in August that the company had shut down its Yokohama office, drastically winding back its pursuit of an integrated resort license in Japan.
Maddox told analysts during the company’s 2Q20 earnings call that Wynn had been closely monitoring the Japanese market and had “decided that until there is more clarity on what the business is going to look like, what the world is going to look like and what the regulations really are over there we’re pretty much ceasing our efforts. We did that about four months ago.
“It doesn’t mean we’re not interested in the market, it just means that right now it’s not a focus for our company.”
Time will tell if recent delays to Japan’s IR timeline will allow Wynn an opportunity to reinvigorate its efforts there.
Wynn continues to be impacted by COVID-19, revealing in September that 3.6% of its workforce, representing 548 staff, had tested positive to COVID-19 since Wynn Las Vegas reopened on 4 June.
However, at board level at least, Maddox has managed to achieve some much-needed stability over the past 12 months with the current Wynn Resorts board bearing little resemblance to the one accused of turning a blind eye to the indiscretions of its founder.
It was also Maddox who has driven efforts over the past two years to end a series of long-running legal battles, including a 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.
That frees the company up to focus on the road ahead, with Wynn Las Vegas having earlier this year unveiled a new 430,000-square foot convention space and Wynn Macau preparing to develop Phase 2 of Wynn Palace.
For the full list of 2020 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.