Las Vegas Review-Journal: Gaming CEOs traded salaries for stocks. Their ‘gamble’ is set to pay off.

December 21, 2020

by Bailey Shulz

This past spring, as casino shutdowns prompted layoffs affecting thousands of Las Vegas casino employees, a number of Las Vegas-based casino company CEOs said they would voluntarily reduce or forgo their salaries to help their companies through challenging times.

Some executives completely forfeited their base salaries, while others — including MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle and Wynn Resorts Ltd. CEO Matt Maddox — traded them in for company stock. Now that the stock market has rallied, the two CEOs are poised to earn far more than what their original base salaries would have granted.

“They could benefit from the arrangement,” said Robin Ferracone, CEO of Farient Advisors, an independent corporate governance and executive compensation consultancy.

Jim Murren, who was CEO of MGM before passing the torch to Hornbuckle earlier this year, had $2 million of his $13.1 million 2019 compensation come from his base salary.

Ferracone said total compensation could end up being lower than 2019 levels because of poor performance among casinos caused by the pandemic and casino shutdowns.

“I would guess their bonuses and the value of their long-term incentives are going to be down,” she said.

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About Robin Ferracone

Founder and CEO, Farient Advisors/GECN Group

New York: (646) 626-6931
Los Angeles: (626) 799-2700

As the founder and CEO of Farient Advisors LLC, Robin has led the strategic development and expansion of the executive compensation, performance, and corporate governance advisory firm. Her client work focuses on providing high-impact decision-making support and organizational solutions based on insightful market insights.

With over 30 years of consulting experience, Robin advises clients in business and talent strategies, executive compensation, organization, value management, and performance measurement. She is the author of Fair Pay Fair Play: Aligning Executive Performance and Pay (John Wiley & Sons, 2010). In addition, Robin has authored numerous articles, is a regular contributor to and Directorship magazine, and is often quoted in national publications. She is a frequent presenter for prominent organizations such as the Council of Institutional Investors, Society for Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), and The Conference Board.

Robin formerly served on the board of directors of Trupanion, Inc., where she chaired the compensation committee. In addition, Robin is a trustee emeritus of Duke University. She currently chairs the board of WildAid and is a member of 5050 Women on Boards, NACD, Women Corporate Directors, YPO Gold, and the Trusteeship. For 12 years, Robin has been named to the NACD Directorship 100, a list of the most influential people in corporate governance and the boardroom. In 2014, she was selected as one of EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women, an annual competition recognizing female entrepreneurs. Robin is also a founding partner of the Global Governance and Executive Compensation (GECN) Group collectively serving clients in more than 35 countries across five continents.

Robin received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in management science and economics from Duke University.

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