Wynn Resorts Names Foreign Relations Expert Paul Liu to Board of Directors

Posted on: August 9, 2023, 07:30h. 

Last updated on: August 9, 2023, 11:07h.

Wynn Resorts is apparently strengthening its commitment to China and its operations in Macau with its latest board member appointment.

Wynn Resorts Paul Liu China Macau
Paul Liu is the newest member of the Wynn Resorts Board of Directors. Liu brings a wealth of expertise in China-U.S. relations. (Image: Wynn Resorts/Casino.org)

On Tuesday, Wynn Resorts, a leading global casino operator with properties in Las Vegas, Massachusetts, and Macau, named Paul Liu as an independent director and Class I member of the company’s board of directors. His appointment was effective Aug. 3, 2023.

Lui brings significant experience in the hospitality, entertainment, and finance sectors in China and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. After beginning his career at JPMorgan, UBS, and Bank of America, Liu transitioned to entertainment and Anschutz Entertainment Group China, a worldwide leader in sports and entertainment.

Liu later became a partner at Egon Zehnder AG, the global consultancy firm focused on executive search, management, and board advisory services. Liu is fluent in Mandarin and is based in Shanghai. Liu is also a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a nonprofit advisory board founded in 1966 by the U.S. and Chinese governments that encourages the understanding and cooperation between the two global superpowers.

Chinese Influence

Tensions remain high between China and the U.S., primarily because of the People’s Republic’s support of Russia in its ongoing war with Ukraine. The Council on Foreign Relations says the relationship between the U.S. and China is among the “most important and complex bilateral” interactions.

While a healthy relationship between China and the U.S. is critically important for global peace and global supply chains, a less important factor has to do with the three U.S. commercial casino companies that generate a considerable amount of their revenue in Macau. Along with Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts are heavily invested in the Chinese Special Administrative Region, the only place under Chinese control where casinos are permitted.

Liu will be expected to provide Wynn Resorts’ boardroom with insights into how to better understand Beijing.

Mr. Liu brings to the Company significant professional experience in entertainment, hospitality, and financial services both in China and the Asia Pacific region. His track record and perspective on creating guest experiences in the luxury and hospitality fields, as well as his unique understanding of business talent in the Asia Pacific market, will be a significant contribution to the Company and will offer an important perspective to the Wynn Board of Directors,” a press release from Wynn Resorts read.

In Macau, Wynn Resorts owns and operates Wynn Macau, Encore at Wynn Macau, and Wynn Palace.

Macau Concession

While President Donald Trump was in office and levying costly tariffs on Chinese goods, he regularly referred to the COVID-19 virus as the “Chinese virus.” As a result, there was speculation that China President Xi Jinping could look to Macau to retaliate against the U.S. president. Trump’s largest donor in the 2016 and 2020 election cycles was Sands billionaire founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson. A staunch supporter of Republican candidates, Adelson died in January 2021 at the age of 87.

Xi’s retaliation, some theorized, could come by way of directing Macau not to issue the three U.S.-based casino giants new gaming licenses. The casino concessions for the six operators were originally to expire on June 26, 2022, following a 20-year tenure. Macau ultimately extended the licenses through the end of 2022, with COVID cited for the postponement.

Last December, all six companies were issued fresh tenders. But their durations were slashed in half to only 10 years.