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Howard Stutz

Executives hired by company planning Sahara rejuvenation

25 October 2012

LAS VEGAS -- The Los Angeles-based company planning a renovation of the former Sahara site has named two corporate executives with ties to the gaming industry.

SBE Entertainment Group, LLC on Tuesday named Sam Bakhshandehpour as company president and Veronica Smiley as chief marketing officer. SBE is controlled by Sam Nazarian.

Bakhshandehpour spent 16 years on Wall Street, including 12 years with J.P. Morgan Securities' Real Estate, Lodging & Gaming Investment Banking practice on the West Coast. He worked with Nazarian earlier this year to secure $300 million in financing for renovation of the Sahara into the SLS Las Vegas.

Smiley was previously vice president of corporate marketing for Caesars Entertainment Corp., where she worked on the relaunch of the company's Total Rewards customer loyalty program.