Bill Hornbuckle, a longtime casino executive, said that MGM Resorts has had a better-than-expected summer with but predicted operating challenges will last into next year.
MGM Resorts International MGM named Bill Hornbuckle as its new chief executive, handing the reins to the acting CEO who has led the global casino operator through the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing furloughs, shutdowns and reopenings.
In March, Mr. Hornbuckle took over on a temporary basis from Jim Murren, who departed before his contract was set to expire at the end of 2021.
Mr. Hornbuckle, a longtime casino executive, said in an interview that MGM Resorts has had a better-than-expected summer with reopenings in Las Vegas and other U.S. markets, but predicted operating challenges will last into next year.
“This is going to be a long journey,” he said.
On the Las Vegas Strip, casinos began reopening June 4 but the industry is far from recovered, with rising cases of Covid-19 and limited air travel. Gambling revenue on the Strip was down 61% in June compared with a year earlier, according to Nevada regulators. Nevada casinos are limited to 50% occupancy on gambling floors, and workers and customers are required to wear masks.
Paul Salem, MGM Resorts’ chairman, said the board considered other candidates but unanimously selected Mr. Hornbuckle after observing his leadership through the pandemic, including difficult decisions for the company’s workforce.
MGM Resorts in May warned 63,000 furloughed workers that they could be laid off starting Aug. 31 because of ongoing weak demand for travel.
Mr. Hornbuckle said Wednesday that about 45% of the company’s workforce has been called back to the job.