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Howard Stutz
 

Wynn Human Resources Exec Announces He Plans to Retire

3 October 2006

By Howard Stutz

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Arte Nathan, who has spent more than two decades overseeing human resources for Steve Wynn's casino companies, said Friday he was retiring.

The 56-year-old Nathan, who developed and implemented the hiring practices for some of the Strip's largest hotel-casinos, said he wanted to pass along his experience in human resources to others.

"I've had one of the most incredible runs a person in my profession could have," Nathan said. "It's a change in lifestyle. I'd love to teach and lecture and I want to write some books on human resources management. I want to enjoy the fruits of my 24 years."

Nathan has worked for Wynn since 1982, first with Golden Nugget, then with Mirage Resorts. He is now senior vice president and chief of human resources for Wynn Resorts Ltd. Nathan said he and his wife of 30 years, Kathleen, were moving to Orange County, Calif.

"I've opened every one of Steve's properties," Nathan said. "That's saying a lot for a guy in my profession."

Nathan put into place the mechanisms and structure to hire the 9,500 workers who opened the $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas in April 2005. More recently, he oversaw the hiring process for 5,000 workers at the $1.2 billion Wynn Macau in China, which opened Sept. 5.

A second phase of Wynn Macau is being readied while construction has begun on the $1.74 billion Encore, a 2,054-room hotel-casino adjacent to Wynn Las Vegas and scheduled to open by December 2008.

Nathan believes he is leaving the corporate human resources department in excellent shape.

"There is a small window of opportunity in our company's phases to make this kind of transition," Nathan said. "In Macau, it will be the same process continued to hire another 3,000 workers. It will be the same type of process when we're ready to hire the people for Encore."

Nathan has been Wynn's only human resources director, spending more than 20 years with the casino developer, whom he has known all his life.

After running a family-owned scrap iron and steel business in Utica, N.Y., for eight years, Nathan took over Wynn's human resources operation at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City in 1982.

Nathan eventually moved to Las Vegas to handle human resources for Mirage Resorts when Wynn opened The Mirage in 1989. He oversaw the initial hiring of employees to staff Treasure Island and Bellagio.

He left Mirage Resorts in 2000 when the company was bought by MGM Grand and he became a senior vice president with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Fort Lee, N.J., commuting weekly from his home in Las Vegas. But in 2003, Wynn brought Nathan back to the gaming industry to prepare for the opening of Wynn Las Vegas.

"I came back because this was a startup and much different than anything we did at Mirage," Nathan said.

His leaving, he said, had nothing to do with a tip-pooling program Wynn Las Vegas implemented Sept. 1 that the casino's dealers have criticized. Nathan said he fully supported the changes and believed any controversy is due to people reluctant to accept change.

The new policy allows table game supervisors to share in the tips earned by dealers. Wynn executives said at the time the move was to help correct the widening disparity between the wages earned by dealers and casino floor supervisors.