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Howard Stutz

Pinnacle seeks to hire CEO in 90 days

20 November 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment hopes to have a new chief executive officer in place "within the next 90 days" company officials said this week.

Interim CEO John Giovenco, a member of the casino operator's board of directors and the former president of Hilton Gaming Corp., told Morgan Joseph gaming analyst Justin Sebastiano that his roll was "very temporary."

Sebastiano met with Pinnacle management this week at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

Pinnacle is looking for a new CEO after , who stepped down after a public incident at a St. Louis County Council meeting that is being investigated by Missouri gaming regulators.

Sebastiano, in a research note to investors, said the company hired an executive search firm to help in the process.

"Management stated that the talent pool is very deep and that they are looking internally as well as externally for the right person," Sebastiano told investors.

He said management hinted that it might be reassessing the company's development options in Louisiana, where Pinnacle has casino projects planned for Lake Charles and Baton Rouge.

"We got the sense that Pinnacle is taking a hard look at the (capital expenditures) involved with the projects and whether or not the associated returns are adequate," Sebastiano said.