Adelson Says New Hire Could Be Player in Succession

Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder Sheldon Adelson said the company is looking to hire an executive to run its non-gambling businesses and help lead Sands if he dies.

Michael Leven, 76, president and chief operating officer, is scheduled to retire at the end of the year. The new executive would work alongside Robert Goldstein, the head of Sands’ gambling business, Adelson, 80, said at the company’s annual meeting in New York yesterday.

“Rob and whoever we get in the other role will be able to run the company for quite a while until I’m replaced, which I don’t know is possible,” Adelson said when asked about succession plans. “That would take a long search.”

Adelson, who serves as chairman and chief executive officer, built Sands from one casino into the world’s largest gambling company. He’s ranked 13th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of richest people with a net worth of $35.4 billion. Adelson, who with his family owns 53 percent of the company’s stock, said he has no plans to retire.

“80 is the new 60,” he said. “I’m celebrating my 60th birthday twice.”

In addition to casinos, the Las Vegas-based company operates shopping malls, restaurants and hotels.

Adelson has said in the past that if he were unable to serve as CEO, he would be comfortable with the team in place. Sands formed a board committee in December 2012 to search for a new president and COO, according to filings. On May 21, the company announced Leven’s retirement.

CFO Role

Sands rose 1 percent to $76.18 at the close in New York yesterday. The stock has retreated 3.4 percent this year.

Sands doesn’t plan to name a chief financial officer to replace Kenneth Kay, who left last year, Adelson said. The company has a chief of corporate finance and a chief accounting officer who split the CFO’s work. Adelson said the company may give one person the title because investors have requested it.

“The company is very well served by having an expert in both the categories and functions of a CFO,” he said.

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