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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

IGT board post adds to Satre's power

26 October 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Phil Satre is the most powerful businessman in Nevada.

He can influence both your electricity costs and what slot machines you can play at the local casino.

There might be some argument as to which role is more important.

Satre, 60, joined the board of directors of NV Energy when he retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Harrah's Entertainment in 2005. For the past 14 months, Satre has been chairman of the electric company that provides power to 2.4 million people in Nevada and northeastern California and casinos on the Strip and Reno.

In January, Satre was elected to the board of directors of slot machine manufacturing giant International Game Technology. Reno-based IGT provides more than 60 percent of the slot machines used in North American casinos. On Dec. 1, he moves into the chairman's role.

Apparently, Satre didn't take well to retirement.

"I'm not a golfer and I don't want to go fishing every day," said Satre, a Reno resident who piloted Harrah's growth in the 1980s and 1990s and oversaw the launch of Total Rewards, the casino industry's first player tracking system.

At NV Energy and IGT, Satre helms the boards of Nevada-based, noncompeting businesses with divergent shareholder bases. NV Energy has 3,200 statewide employees and IGT has 3,100 workers in Las Vegas and Reno.

"Both companies have substantial operations in Las Vegas and Reno with significant work forces," Satre said.

Also important to Satre is that both NV Energy and IGT adopted Corporate America's new trend that splits the chairman and CEO positions. Michael Yackira is the CEO of NV Energy and Patti Hart is CEO of IGT.

"A nonexecutive chairman is a good change," Satre said.

But Satre won't direct policy at either company. Yackira said he's involved and supportive at NV Energy.

"It's no surprise to us that he would be tapped as a chairman for another large Nevada company," Yackira said. "It clearly speaks to his reputation and record of success over a very long period of time."

Satre quashed thoughts that he's using the NV Energy and IGT roles to establish a statewide political base. Satre's name was floated in 2006 as a possible Democratic candidate for governor.

"That's something not under consideration," Satre said.

IGT board post adds to Satre's power is republished from iGamingSuppliers.com.