Caesars Entertainment names Affinity’s Rodio as new CEO

16 April 2019

US casino giant Caesars Entertainment has appointed Anthony Rodio, currently chief executive of Affinity Gaming, as its new chief executive officer.

Rodio will move into his new role within the next 30 days and also take a place on Caesars’ board of directors. He replaces Mark Frissora, Caesars' chief executive since July 2015, in the role. Frissora originally announced his intention to step down as CEO by February 8 this year, only to delay his departure as the search for his successor took longer than anticipated.

Based at the operator’s headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, Rodio will bring almost four decades of experience to Caesars. Prior to his time at Affinity Gaming, where he has been CEO since October 2018, Rodio was president and CEO of Tropicana Entertainment.

At Tropicana, Rodio led major capital projects including the complete renovation of Tropicana Atlantic City and also oversaw a period of unprecedented growth, improving financial results and overseeing net revenue growth of more than 50%. 

Earlier in his career, Rodio also had spells managing properties for the likes of Harrah's Entertainment (now Caesars), Trump Marina Hotel Casino, the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort and Penn National Gaming.

“I have long admired Caesars and am optimistic about the Company's future prospects,” Rodio said. “Our industry is going through a time of transition and opportunity and I look forward to leading Caesars’ exceptional team through the Company's next phase of growth, innovation and value creation.”

Caesars chairman James Hunt added: “Tony is a respected and highly accomplished executive who has successfully built and grown businesses in our industry throughout his career.

“We are confident that Tony has the vision and depth of operating experience to lead our talented senior management team as Caesars continues its long history of delighting our guests, fostering a welcoming and rewarding workplace for our team members and creating value for shareholders and other stakeholders.”

In related news, Caesars has established a new Transaction Committee to oversee an evaluation of ongoing efforts to create additional shareholder value. 

Thomas Benninger, Keith Cozza, Don Kornstein and Courtney Mather will sit on the committee as independent directors, with a focus on the evaluating how the operator can enhance shareholder value, including continuing to operate as an independent public company. It will also explore the possibilty of a merger or sale of the business, something advocated by the operator's activist investor Carl Icahn.

Icahn had also reportedly recommended Rodio as the best candidate to replace Frissora as CEO.

Caesars has formed the new committee in response to inquiries from industry participants concerning possible transactions with the operator. PJT Partners LP will assist the committee with this process.

Caesars has noted there is no timetable for completion of its ongoing review of the options available to the business.