Caesars Entertainment Board Adds Former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones Blackhurst

Posted on: September 9, 2019, 10:25h. 

Last updated on: September 9, 2019, 12:14h.

Caesars Entertainment has named Jan Jones Blackhurst to its corporate board. The move comes less than two weeks after the casino giant announced it was foregoing its efforts to win licensure in Japan, which the former Las Vegas mayor was spearheading for the company.

Caesars Entertainment Jan Jones Blackhurst
Jan Jones Blackhurst is making her way to the Caesars Entertainment boardroom. (Image: Jamie Sabau/Getty)

Blackhurst was the first woman to serve as mayor of Las Vegas, which she did from 1991 to 1999. She joined Caesars in an executive capacity following her exit from politics.

In a filing made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Caesars says Blackhurst will replace Richard Schifter on the 11-person board. In the same filing, the company said Schifter’s resignation was effective September 5, 2019. “There were no disagreements between Mr. Schifter and the Company that caused or contributed to his decision,” the announcement explained.

Schifter joined the Caesars board in May 2017. He was a partner at TPG Capital when the private equity firm amassed a considerable position in the casino operator.

Blackhurst sought a third term as mayor, but was defeated by fellow Democrat Oscar Goldman. He served in the role from 1999-2011, and then handed the reins to his wife Carolyn, who remains in the city’s chief executive capacity.

Blackhurst additionally was unsuccessful in two gubernatorial runs in Nevada. She was the Democratic nominee in 1998, but lost to Kenny Guinn. Guinn served as a board member of MGM Resorts until his death in 2010.

Blackhurst Past

Caesars Entertainment says Blackhurst will remain in her position as executive vice president of public policy and corporate responsibility until October 1. At that time, she will transition to a non-employee director.

Blackhurst was leading Caesars’ efforts to win one of the three forthcoming commercial gaming licenses in Japan.

Japan is hugely important, not only to Caesars, but the entire gaming industry,” Blackhurst said last December. “This is probably the single most important market to open in the last decade for sure, maybe the last two decades.”

Caesars, which missed out on the Macau golden goose more than a decade ago and underwent bankruptcy in 2015, was committed to expanding internationally following its emergence from Chapter 11 protection in late 2017.

“There are no integrated resorts in Japan. The upside for revenue possibly is equivalent to or greater than Macau, even with just three licenses,” Blackhurst forecast.

But after private equity tycoons, including corporate raider Carl Icahn, amassed large ownership stakes in the fiscally troubled casino company and forced a sale, soon-to-be parent Eldorado Resorts squashed the Japan focus.

The regional gaming operator said the decision was “driven by sensitivity to the significant decisions Japan’s government and business partners will likely be making later this year to advance the process.”

Board Role

Caesars says Blackhurst will receive similar compensation as her predecessor. In 2018, Schifter was paid $157,500, plus 193,755 shares of the casino company stock, for a total consideration of $351,255.

Blackhurst becomes the third woman on the Caesars board, joining Denise Clark and Juliana Chugg.