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Gaming Guru

Rod Smith
 

Exec from Caesars to Join Trump

18 July 2005

"You're hired."

In a move straight from his reality television series, Donald Trump on Friday hired Caesars Palace President Mark Juliano for a senior management position with his gaming operation.

Juliano, 50, who met with Caesars workers late Friday to tell them he had resigned, declined to say what his new position with Trump will be. But in a statement, he said the hardest part about leaving Caesars Palace will be saying goodbye to Caesars employees.

Juliano's resignation from Caesars, effective July 31, surprised industry insiders because Gary Loveman, chairman of Harrah's Entertainment which bought Caesars Palace in June as part of its merger with Caesars Entertainment, had been clear about wanting to keep him on to manage the Strip landmark.

Also, Juliano, had said he wanted to remain in charge of Caesars Palace as long as any owner was committed to keeping the venerable casino's reputation for excellence.

There have been rumors since the merger was announced, largely denied by Harrah's, that Caesars Palace would be downgraded under new management.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas history professor Hal Rothman said the Juliano resignation "suggests he lost faith Harrah's would keep its word to keep Caesars Palace Caesars."

"Caesars has been the leading brand in the industry for a long time. Juliano's departure suggests it won't stay that way long," he said. "It suggests also Harrah's is going to move Caesars (Palace) in a direction Juliano wouldn't have approved of -- not keeping Caesars what it has been."

"Look at his impact in creating the Celine Dion show, a really big impact on the new Las Vegas. But this isn't what Harrah's is all about. Caesars represents one thing and Harrah's under Gary Loveman represents quite another."

Tom Jenkin, Harrah's Entertainment Western Division president, said Juliano successfully led Caesars Palace through a period of major expansion and refurbishment and assembled a strong leadership team.

"He is a noted industry leader who has made a personal and professional decision to return to the East Coast. We wish him and his family all the best," Jenkin said.

Gary Selesner, resort senior vice president and general manager, will serve as interim president during the company's search for a replacement.

Juliano was recruited by Jim Perry, who started July 6 as chief executive officer of Trump Entertainment Resorts, Trump's new casino holding company.

Deutsche Bank analyst Andrew Zarnett called the hire a very strong recruit for Perry and the Trump organization.

"Mark Juliano is a very highly regarded operator with years of experience in Atlantic City and this is a strong first move by Perry to put a new team in place to improve the operating results at Trump post the reorganization of the company," he said.

Juliano, who has served as Caesars Palace president since February 2003, is a veteran gaming executive whose association with the Caesars brand dates to 1986.

At Caesars World, Juliano was also responsible for development of Caesars Indiana, which has become one of Caesars Entertainment's fastest-growing casinos. He also directed operations at Dover Downs and Caesars Nova Scotia.

Exec from Caesars to Join Trump is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.