Caesars CEO leaving just as the company turns a profit


caesars-ceo-frissora-quitsCasino operator Caesars Entertainment Corporation (CEC) is bidding goodbye to its CEO, just as the company begins posting actual profits.

On Thursday, CEC reported revenue of just under $2.2b in the three months ending September 30, a gain of 120% from the same period last year, while also posting a net profit of $110m versus a $433m loss in Q3 2017.

As always with CEC, one needs to get out a slide rule to gauge the actual financial picture, given the convoluted subsidiary shell game that CEC played for several years following the 2015 bankruptcy of its main unit, Caesars Entertainment Operating Co (CEOC), which was finally resolved late last year through a complex restructuring.

On an ‘enterprise-wide’ basis, which assumes that all the pieces of the CEC/CEOC puzzle were always in the same box, revenue was up only 2.9% and adjusted earnings were down 2.7% to $616m. And that’s including contributions from the Indiana casinos formerly belonging to Centaur Entertainment, which CEC acquired this year.

Regardless, the stock shot up 8.8% on Thursday and gained gained another 7.7% on Friday. So investors were either buoyed by CEC’s algebraic excellence or celebrating the imminent exit of Caesars CEO Mark Frissora, who announced Thursday that he would be stepping down on February 8, 2019.

CEC doesn’t have a successor in mind, but the board will work with a “nationally recognized search firm” to find a qualified candidate. Frissora, who joined CEC just as it embarked on its nearly three-year bankruptcy nightmare, didn’t say where he was going after leaving CEC. Presumably someplace where there’s less math involved, like NASA.

In other CEC news, the company is preparing to open its new casino-free Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai hotel on November 15. This 301-room hotel marks the first non-gaming resort in the company’s history and Frissora said it will “set the stage for Caesars to continue to expand the reach of our brands in to the global gateway cities.”

Closer to home, Thursday saw CEC announce a 15-year partnership with the as-yet unbuilt Las Vegas Stadium, the future home of the National Football League’s Las Vegas Raiders. CEC will enjoy a branded luxury suite at the 50-yard line, along with the usual trademark, signage and media benefits.

This is the second NFL deal for Caesars, following last month’s deal between the company’s Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and the Baltimore Ravens.