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Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Alliance Gaming Replaces Longtime Financial Officer as Part of Restructuring

9 March 2005

Alliance Gaming Corp., which has seen its stock price plummet over the past 14 months, continued its management purge Tuesday, removing the slot manufacturer's long-time chief financial officer and restructuring the positions of several key executives.

Steven Des Champs, who has been Alliance's chief accounting officer since 2001, will move into the CFO role and replace Robert Saxton, an employee of Alliance since 1982 and the company's CFO since 2000.

Saxton will remain with Alliance as treasurer, president of the company's casino operations and executive vice president of Bally Gaming, an Alliance subsidiary.

The move follows last year's appointment of Richard Haddrill as chief executive officer, which culminated a year in which shares in Alliance fell considerably, including a 75 percent drop between April and October.

On Tuesday, Alliance closed at $11.52, up 14 cents, or 1.23 percent.

"I wouldn't call this a shake-up," Des Champs said. "I would view this as more of a realignment of duties. This allows Bob to move back into the operations side and jump-start that side of the business."

Des Champs had been working with Saxton on various financial matters, so he views the transition as seamless.

Using football terminology, Des Champs said Alliance "needs to get back to basics, such as blocking and tackling. We've moved people around to accomplish that goal."

Alliance is covered by 13 gaming analysts and De Champs said he had fielded phone calls from 11 of the analysts by midmorning.

"The analysts have said we're doing the right thing for the company," Des Champs said.

Other appointments include the addition of Ramesh Srinivasan, who becomes executive vice president of Bally Systems. He worked closely with Haddrill at Atlanta-based Manhattan Associates, a software company serving the retail and manufacturing industries.

Other changes include moving Mark Lipparelli to executive vice president of operations and Mick Roemer becoming senior vice president of products and marketing.

"I am excited about this management team realignment," Haddrill said in a statement. "Combined with the previous appointment of Robert Luciano as chief technology officer, these changes will further our pursuit of becoming an entertainment and technology leader to the gaming industry."