Posted on: January 15, 2024, 03:58h.
Last updated on: January 15, 2024, 03:58h.
It’s been a month since Fontainebleau Las Vegas opened its doors, but the Strip casino resort has already lost three marquee executives.
Various media outlets reported the news that Chief Operating Officer (COO) Colleen Birch and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Shane Smith left the newly minted Sin City hotel last week. Their departures follow that of Vice President of Casino Operations Michael Clifford on Dec. 30.
Birch and Smith voluntarily resigned their posts. It was Birch’s second stint with Fountainbleau following a short stay as revenue management director in 2008.
Ground was initially broken on the venue in February 2007, but the global financial crisis stymied efforts to bring the project to completion. Financier Carl Icahn bought the unfinished building in 2010 and it sat dormant for seven years, but he quadrupled his $150 million investment when he sold the structure property developer Steven Witkoff and an investment firm called New Valley for $600 million in 2017.
Executive Upheaval Adds to Fontainebleau Checkered History
The aforementioned executive trio weren’t at Fontainebleau Las Vegas very long. Clifford started at the posh venue in February 2023 following time at Resorts World Las Vegas, Wynn Palace in Macau and various roles with MGM Resorts International.
Birch joined Fontainebleau in November 2022 following a 13-year run with Cosmopolitan. She left that Strip property soon after Blackstone sold its operating rights to MGM. Smith’s LinkedIn profile indicates he was with Fontainebleau for about a year.
Some industry observers and Las Vegas insiders believe it’s a bad look for the newly minted integrated resort that three high-ranking executives departed in less than a month.
That tumult comes as the $3.7 billion has reportedly struggled to attract high-end bettors. Will there’s no denying Fontainebleau’s pizazz and its enviable collection of tony restaurants, the Sin City rumor mill suggests the property’s gaming floor is often sparsely occupied. The casino, which is housed in the tallest building in the city, has 1,300 machines and 128 table games.
Fontainebleau Saga Continues
Fontainebleau Las Vegas is a partnership between the Koch brothers and Florida real estate developer Jeffrey Soffer. He owns the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and is hoping to make the Las Vegas venue a credible sibling to the iconic Miami counterpart.
One of the issues that could confound Fontainebleau Las Vegas is its location on the north end of the Strip — an area in which some casino hotels have struggled to gain traction.
Additionally, that part of the Strip was already penetrated by luxury venues prior to Fontainebleau’s debut with Wynn and Encore dominating that scene. Newcomers that opened prior Fountainbleau have scuffled in efforts to pilfer market share from the Wynn properties.