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Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

IGT names new president, CEO

25 March 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- International Game Technology named current board member Patti Hart as its president and chief executive officer late Tuesday, replacing TJ Matthews.

Hart has served on IGT's board of directors since June 2006. Matthews formally resigned his positions as president and CEO of the Reno-based slot machine giant, but will continue to serve as chairman of the board.

The action is subject to regulatory approvals and Hart expects to take over April 1.

"While the industry is facing challenging economic headwinds, I am eager to take on my duties as the CEO and help maintain IGT's position as an industry innovator," Hart said in a statement.

Matthews, 43, who joined IGT in December 2001, said he was looking forward continuing to serve as chairman.

"In Patti, the CEO search committee saw a unique combination of executive-level management expertise, an intimate knowledge of IGT through her years of service on our board," Matthews said in a statement.

Hart is now a director for Korn/Ferry International Inc. and Lin TV Corp. She has held executive positions with Pinnacle Systems, Excite@Home, Telocity Inc. and Sprint Corp.

Like many of the companies in the gaming industry, IGT has suffered from reduced revenues and earnings. In the 2009 first quarter, which was reported in January, IGT saw its profits decline 42 percent from a year ago and revenues fall 7 percent.

Gaming analysts said the company suffered the brunt of the poor economy in 2008 when casinos didn't invest in new equipment. The company's stock price lost more than 80 percent on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

Several gaming analysts thought IGT banked too much of its future on sever-based gaming technology, which has been slow come into the market. IGT does have a contract to provide server-based gaming to slot machine floor at Aria at CityCenter.

In the past year, IGT undertook several initiatives to reduce annual costs by $100 million. The company reduced its work force by 10 percent and cut costs in many departments. In March, the quarterly dividend was cut 58 percent.

Matthews was initially IGT's chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors following the company's acquisition of Anchor Gaming, for which he had been chairman and CEO.

Matthews became IGT's president and CEO in 2003 and chairman of the board in 2005.

IGT names new president, CEO is republished from