Fontainebleau Las Vegas Loses Two More Execs, Three Now Gone in Weeks

Posted on: January 16, 2024, 06:58h. 

Last updated on: January 24, 2024, 11:23h.

It’s only been a month since Fontainebleau Las Vegas opened its doors, but the Strip casino resort has already lost three marquee executives.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas Strip casino resort
Fontainebleau Las Vegas. The newly opened casino hotel on the Strip lost three executives in less than a month. (Image: ResortX)

Various media outlets reported 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 December 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. However, the global financial crisis stymied efforts to complete the project. Financier Carl Icahn bought the unfinished building in 2010, which sat dormant for seven years. Ichan quadrupled his $150 million investment when he sold the structure to property developer Steven Witkoff, and an investment firm called New Valley for $600 million in 2017.

Executive Upheaval Adds to 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 resort has reportedly struggled to attract high-end bettors. While there’s no denying Fontainebleau’s pizzazz and its enviable collection of tony restaurants, the Sin City rumor mill suggests the property’s gaming floor is often sparsely occupied. The casino, housed in the city’s tallest building, 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 hopes to make the Las Vegas venue a credible sibling to its 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 before Fontainebleau’s debut, with Wynn and Encore dominating that scene. Newcomers that opened before Fontainebleau have struggled in efforts to pilfer market share from the Wynn properties.