February 7, 2018 / 7:09 AM / a year ago

Wynn Resorts' new CEO Maddox has long been founder's right hand man

HONG KONG, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Matt Maddox, who has taken the helm at Wynn Resorts Ltd after founder Steve Wynn resigned in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations, is a veteran employee long seen as a natural successor to his former boss.

Maddox, who is in his early 40s, has been with the company since it was founded 16 years ago and was named president in 2013. He has acted as Wynn's right hand man in recent years, taking an increasingly active role in investor conference calls and discussions over business operations.

"With Matt, Wynn Resorts is in good hands. He and his team are well positioned to carry on the plans and vision for the company I created," Wynn said in a statement.

Wynn has denied the accusations published by the Wall Street Journal that he routinely subjected women who worked for him to unwanted advances as "preposterous". He said, however, that the accusations had made it too difficult to continue leading the company.

Maddox moved to the Chinese-controlled territory of Macau soon after Wynn Resorts secured its concession there. Wynn Macau Ltd currently operates two lavish casinos in the casino hub and the unit accounts for more than 70 percent of Wynn Resorts' revenue.

In the former Portuguese colony, Maddox worked on legislative initiatives and land concessions as well as the project's initial $400 million in financing, the Las Vegas Review Journal wrote in 2008.

"Maddox was the clear heir apparent for the CEO role. He has been with the company and at Steve Wynn's side since 2002, most recently as President of Wynn Resorts. He also served as CFO of both Wynn Resorts and Wynn Macau," said Vitaly Umansky, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Hong Kong.

Prior to working for Wynn, the Las Vegas-based executive worked in corporate finance for Caesars Entertainment and was also a banker for Bank of America Securities according to his biography on Wynn's website.

Fortune magazine in 2009 said that Maddox was the most highly paid executive at a public company. As CFO and treasurer of Wynn Resorts his 2008 compensation was $17.7 million.

Maddox currently has a base salary of $1.5 million which does not include stock options and extra benefits according to Wynn Resorts' SEC filings.

Wynn started in Las Vegas casinos in the 1960s but was forced to sell his multi-billion dollar operation Mirage Resorts to tycoon Kirk Kerkorian in a hostile takeover in 2000. Wynn later created Wynn Resorts with his ex-wife in 2002.

Wynn Resorts has lost nearly a fifth of its value since the Wall Street Journal report and is now worth some $17 billion.

Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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