Las Vegas Review-Journal: Gaming CEOs traded salary 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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