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Grant Bowie MGM China CEO takes early retirement option

MGM China CEO Grant Bowie is stepping with effect om 31st May from his top post in what is the latest management change involving MGM Resorts International globally as the company sets itself up to handle the financial pressures associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Bowie will reportedly stay on as an executive director and a company advisor. It is not clear how long he will be executive director, but may remain in an advisory role through 2022.

The move related to Bowie’s personal retirement plans and he opted not to extend a contract with the company. The news was included in a recent company filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Inside Asian Gaming reported.

When asked for comments on the management change, the Rev. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College who follows the gambling industry, told Casino.org that “MGM is certainly experiencing a very difficult financial situation.

MGM likely needs a different strategy for its Asian properties, McGowan said. The new company CEO in China will need “to discover what MGM can do to ensure that the Asian operations are profitable.”

The question also arises if MGM might need a different post-COVID-19 model in Asia, he added. Like with Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts, MGM’s China operations will have to help carry the company through current challenges, McGowan confirmed.

In fact, US casinos will “undergo a substantial change in operations that will take some time for both the casinos and … customers to become accustom [to],” he said.

Bowie led the opening of the Wynn Macau in 2006. Two years later, he went to MGM after MGM Macau opened, and he led the development of the $3.4 billion MGM Cotai which opened in 2018.

Earlier in his career, he worked for Park Place Entertainment Corporation in Australia. The departure from MGM appears to be on friendly terms and Bowie thanked his corporate colleagues.

Last month, it was reported that MGM China has the financial resources to survive up to 15 months if financial pressures, lower occupancy rates, and reduced gaming continue. It is unlikely MGM Resorts International would try to sell MGM China to shore up its own balance sheet, analysts from Bernstein, a financial firm, said.

Las Vegas-based MGM owns nearly 56 percent of the China unit. Earlier this month, MGM Resorts consolidated its top management.

News about the reshuffling came on the heels of Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announcing that the state’s casinos will not be among the first businesses to reopen in the state, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep gaming properties closed. Earlier this year, Jim Murren stepped down as CEO and chairman of MGM Resorts.