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Andy Choy fired as CEO of Riviera

24 June 2013

LAS VEGAS -- Andy Choy, president and CEO of the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Strip, was fired Friday as the casino’s parent company, Riviera Holdings Corporation, continues to reorganize the struggling property’s management team.

Noah Acres, senior vice president of gaming, also resigned.

Choy, who was named CEO in April 2011, declined to comment Friday. The Riviera has lost three key executives within the past year, including CFO Larry King, Bobby Ray Harris, senior vice president of operations, and Doug Poppa, the former director of security and surveillance.

The Riviera has struggled financially over the past five years given its position on the north end of the Strip, across from Circus Circus and next door to Carl Icahn’s stalled Fontainebleau project.

Earlier this year, the casino reported a first quarter loss of $7.5 million, or 84 cents a share, compared with $4 million, or 45 cents a share, in the same period last year

Revenues were $14.8 million in the first quarter, down from $20.8 million last year.

The Riviera opened on April 20, 1955, and in more than 50 years of business has filed for bankruptcy three times. The hotel-casino filed for bankruptcy in 1985 and 1991, at which time Meshulam Riklis lost ownership of the property to Riviera Holdings.

The last time was in July 2010. Riviera Holdings then filed a prenegotiated Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which had the support of more than 75 percent of the debt holders.

The company emerged from bankruptcy in November 2010, with Greenwich, Conn.-based Starwood Capital Group with a 41 percent stake in Riviera Holdings. Starwood Capital declined to comment Friday on Choy’s firing.

No word on who will replace Choy as CEO and president of the Riviera.

Before taking over the Riviera, Choy worked for the Las Vegas Sands Corp. in Las Vegas and Macau and as a turnaround specialist for Icahn Enterprises, spending time on the Stratosphere and Arizona Charlie’s in Las Vegas and the Aquarius in Laughlin.