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Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Affinity Gaming announces new CEO

27 August 2014

LAS VEGAS -- Affinity Gaming completed the remake of its corporate leadership Tuesday, naming a long-time Caesars Entertainment Corp. executive as CEO and appointing three new board members.

The Las Vegas-based casino operator, which owns 11 properties in four states, selected Michael Silberling as CEO, replacing David Ross, who announced earlier this year he would leave the company at the end of July.

Silberling will also take Ross’s position on the company’s board.

Silberling spent two decades with Caesars, which included casino operation roles when the company was known as Harrah’s Entertainment. Recently, Silberling was president of Caesars’ international operations, overseeing 12 resorts in seven countries.

Affinity officials said Silberling oversaw Harrah’s casinos in Iowa and Missouri, two of Affinity’s regional markets.

Affinity Chairman Rich Parisi said Silberling was appointed after a “comprehensive” candidate search.

“Michael understands the business and we are confident in his ability to help Affinity achieve its strategic objectives,” Parisi said.

In Nevada, Affinity operates five casinos, including the three Primm resorts and the off-Strip Silver Sevens. The company also owns three Colorado casinos, two casinos in Missouri and an Iowa casino.

“There is a meaningful opportunity to establish Affinity as the premier operator of regional gaming assets,” Silberling said. “I look forward to leveraging my operational and regional experience to ensure that Affinity grows its competitive position in the markets in which it operates.”

Last month, Affinity announced a restructuring of the company’s board to include seven directors.

On Tuesday, the company named James Zenni, Andrei Scrivens and James Cacioppo to the board.

Zenni is the CEO of Illinois-based Z Capital, the company’s largest shareholder, which holds a 33.7 percent stake. Scrivens is Z Capital’s managing director. Cacioppo is managing partner and portfolio manager of One East Capital Advisors.

Parisi is senior analyst for Silver Point Capital of Connecticut, which owns 25.1 percent of the company.

Affinity is not publicly traded, but has $382.7 million in long-term publicly-held debt.

“We now have the right board and leadership in place to focus on executing the company’s business strategy,” Zenni said. “I look forward to working together as we capitalize on Michael’s extensive gaming experience and take Affinity to the next level.”

The management changes are subject to licensing and regulatory approval in four states.