PRESIDENT AND COO
Las Vegas Sands
POWER SCORE: 1,611
POSITION LAST YEAR: 7
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Stood in effectively for Sheldon Adelson during his 2019 illness
- Adelson’s trusted global lieutenant and enforcer
- Helped launch Venetian Las Vegas
Robert Goldstein is the clear second in command at the world’s largest gaming company in terms of market cap and most other measures. Now in his 25th year with Las Vegas Sands, Goldstein is a longtime loyal lieutenant to Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson and not afraid to get tough with other executives.
His time filling in for Adelson during his illness last year is widely viewed as a successful audition for the top job, when and if the 87-year-old Adelson decides to step back from the fray.
Largely under Goldstein’s watch, LVS last year increased revenue to US$13.74 billion and EBITDA to US$5.4 billion. In a note to investors following Goldstein’s regency, advisory Sanford Bernstein extolled the market power of LVS, calling its Asia properties “crown jewels of global gaming … In Macau and Singapore, Sands dwarfs its competitors in market share, margins, free cash flow generation and return of capital to investors.” COVID-19 hasn’t broken the Sands money machine, only paused it.
In his interim role, Goldstein appeared unfazed by the enormity of running LVS and satisfying shareholders, most notably majority owners Chairman Adelson and family members. Dr Miriam Adelson, the chairman’s wife, is actually the largest individual shareholder in LVS, and her younger daughter Sivan’s husband Patrick Dumont serves as LVS Executive Vice President and CFO. Along with Adelson and Goldstein, Dumont is the only executive mentioned by name whose loss “could have a material adverse effect on the company” in the LVS annual report.
But Dr Adelson and her daughter, both born in Israel and deeply involved in that nation’s most read daily newspaper Hayom, appear far more interested in Israeli politics than gaming. So expect the heavy family shareholding – the Adelsons have been active users of exotic US trust products to preserve their wealth for heirs – to ensure continuity in succession, with Goldstein likely maintaining a leading role.
Although he’s based in Las Vegas, Goldstein is no stranger to Asia. He’s been a member of the board of Sands China for the past six years and served as interim president of the LVS Macau operating subsidiary in 2015. Goldstein also served as a President of Global Gaming Operations for LVS from 2011 through 2014, with oversight of all LVS casinos.
Many thought he was put in place principally to oversee Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands as it tried to navigate gaming in Asia without junket promoters in a fastidiously regulated environment. With MBS executives George Tanasijevich and Andrew MacDonald on the ground, the Singapore IR became the most profitable IR on earth.
Goldstein joined LVS in 1995, after serving as EVP of Marketing at the unrelated Sands Hotel in Atlantic City and a similar position at parent company Pratt Hotel Corp. He helped launch The Venetian in Las Vegas, rising to Property President, and was instrumental in making Adelson’s groundbreaking convention-led IR model a success.
At the beginning of 2015, Goldstein succeeded Michael Leven as LVS president and COO and gained a seat on its board of directors. As an undergraduate, Goldstein studied history and political science and holds a law degree, but he seems to have found his true calling in business.
For the full list of 2020 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.