Casino CFOs Have Worst C-Suite Job Security in Industry, Survey Says

Posted on: February 20, 2024, 12:55h. 

Last updated on: February 21, 2024, 11:17h.

Chief financial officers (CFOs) are among the highest-ranking executives at any company. But across a variety of industries, occupants of those roles face lower pay than other high-level executives, and substantial job insecurity. That holds true in the casino gaming industry as well.

Nevada casinos gaming revenue Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip. Being a casino CFO might not be all it’s cracked up to be. (Image: Getty)

That’s according to a recent survey by Datarails. Across all industries, CFOs fell to the fourth spot in terms of executive compensation, behind chief executive officers (CEOs), chief technology officers (CTOs), and chief operating officers (COOs).

CEOs have the highest pay in the casino C-Suite at $11.3m. CFOs in the sector also earn on average 30% higher than the average across other sectors ($4.5m annually) followed by COOs ($3.5m),” according to the research firm.

Datarails analyzed the 2022 and 2023 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings of publicly traded casino companies to formulate the data for executive pay and job security.

Case Study

Datarails highlighted MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) as an example of a casino operator with recent volatility in its CFO role.

“MGM Resorts have gone through 3 CFOs in this time. In 2021, MGM Resorts saw Jonathan Halkyard succeed Corey Sanders, himself only appointed CFO in 2019 and lasting only two years in that role,” added the Datarails. “Sanders was preceded by Dan D’Arrigo, who left MGM as its chief financial officer in 2019 as part of the company’s labor cost-cutting strategy after more than a decade in the role.”

While Halkyard is approaching just his third anniversary with MGM, he’s made his presence felt at the Bellagio operator. The company has been a devoted buyer of its shares during his tenure, dramatically reducing its shares outstanding tally.

Other data points confirm there’s some lack of job security in being a casino gaming CFO.

“When it comes to job tenure, CFOs have the worst job security in the Casino and Gaming C-Suite, lasting only on average 3 years out of five years (2018-2022),” observed Datarails. “Second-worst is the CEO, lasting 3.2 years out of five and GC (3.75). The most secure roles in the Casino and Gaming C-Suite are chief marketing officer (CMO), COO, and CTO, all lasting 5 years out of a possible five.”

Other High-Profile Moves

Some of the other recent, high-profile casino CFO departures aren’t bad. In fact, they’ve been positive for the executives and the companies alike. For example, Patrick Dumont ceded his CFO role at Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) to become COO and president, when Rob Goldstein succeeded the late Sheldon Adelson as CEO of the largest casino operator by market value.

Likewise, former Wynn CFO Craig Billings left that role to become CEO two years ago. Julie Cameron-Doe, who was already with the company, replaced him in the top financial job.

There were no marquee CFO changes in the gaming industry last year, and that’s a positive. Such departures, regardless of industry, produce negative short-term effects on share prices.

“Stock prices dropped immediately by 1% the following day, as markets absorb CFO exits, based on 20 high-profile CFO exits in 2023. These companies dropped a further 2% after 30 days. But by 180 days, the stock prices had returned to their previous levels,” concluded Datarails.