LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess) — Shares of MGM Resorts International plunged on Thursday after the company announced the abrupt exit of its longtime CEO and Chairman Jim Murren.
Murren, who has led the international resort and entertainment brand since 2008, announced he was stepping down from both roles a year ahead of the expiration of his contract after the markets closed on Wednesday night.
According to a statement from MGM Resorts, Murren will continue to serve in his current leadership roles until a successor is appointed.
In the statement announcing his departure, Murren noted that he felt the company was on solid financial footing but that he was stepping away to let another person lead the company through a “new period of growth.”
“Leading MGM Resorts has been the most rewarding and fulfilling experience in my professional career,” said Mr. Murren. “It has been an honor to work with such a talented group of men and women who provide millions of guests with memorable life experiences every day all over the world. We have a solid leadership team in place, and I am confident that they will work with my successor to continue the Company’s trajectory of growth and expansion. Until my successor is named, I will continue to lead this Company just as I always have and will remain focused on executing our strategy and am fully committed to supporting a seamless transition.”
During his 12-year tenure at MGM, Murren was instrumental in the establishment of professional sports in Las Vegas, including the building of T-Mobile Arena and securing NHL Team the Las Vegas Golden Knights to play at the arena.
As CEO of MGM Resorts, he oversaw a period of expansion for MGM that included the opening of two properties in Macau and the current effort to obtain a license in Osaka, Japan.
Other projects from the Murren era have been less successful. Almost at the same time as the company announced Murren’s exit, MGM Resorts reported that net revenue at its $1bn expansion in Springfield, Mass, had fallen by $6 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.
For its first year of operation, MGM reported net revenues of $301.1 million and earnings of $34.3 million in 2019.
“MGM Springfield has admittedly performed below our expectations, and we’ve recently made some changes there to better position the property,” MGM Resorts’ James J. Murren said Wednesday during an investor conference call.
In January, MGM Springfield President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Mathis and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Courtney Wenleder both stepped down from their posts at the resort property.