Sands COO Michael Leven to retire at year’s end, ageless Adelson to remain as CEO

Las Vegas Sands CorpLas Vegas Sands president and chief operating officer Michael A. Leven is set to retire from his post once his contract with the casino company ends at the end of the year.

Leven’s retirement marks the culmination of a six-year tenure, including briefly taking over as CEO of Sands China in 2010 after the company dismissed Steve Jacobs for clashing with Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson.

Unlike his relationship with Jacobs, Adelson has for the most part had a good relationship with Leven. Adelson praised Leven’s “tireless work and dedication,” saying Leven “started in this role at one of the most challenging times in our company’s history and we appreciate his efforts and leadership in helping LVS experience unprecedented success as we’ve grown.”

Leven was equally magnanimous in announcing his exit. “I’m grateful to Sheldon and his family for allowing me to help him lead the company during such a tremendous period of growth. I’ve enjoyed working with the finest team in the industry and look forward to continuing to serve the company, its shareholders and its team members from my position on the Board of Directors. For me, this is truly a storybook ending to a more than 50-year career in the hospitality industry. I wouldn’t want it to end any other way.”

As for Leven’s successor, Adelson announced that a board-led committee will be responsible for recommending a candidate the entire LVS board will consider.

Meanwhile, those expecting Adelson to follow Leven into retirement are out of luck. Like an ageless workaholic who can’t see his days end in any other way, Adelson isn’t ready to throw in the towel. Adelson rubbished reports that he might give up his CEO title to whomever replaces Leven, saying “rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

“I am as bullish about this company as I’ve ever been, and I have no plans of slowing down or passing the CEO title or job to anyone,” the chairman said. “We have taken an important leadership position in the gaming and hospitality industry, and I plan on spending year after year building on that success.”