MGM Resorts announced Wednesday afternoon that current CEO Jim Murren is stepping down from his position.
Murren has been CEO since 2008, having being hired by MGM 10 years prior. He is leaving the company nearly two years before his contract expires. His current deal was set to run through the end of 2021 and he will stay at the helm of the Las Vegas-based gaming giant until the company chooses a successor.
“Leading MGM Resorts has been the most rewarding and fulfilling experience in my professional career,” said Murren in a statement. “It has been an honor to work with such a talented group of men and women who provide millions of guests with memorable life experiences every day all over the world. We have a solid leadership team in place, and I am confident that they will work with my successor to continue the Company’s trajectory of growth and expansion. Until my successor is named, I will continue to lead this Company just as I always have and will remain focused on executing our strategy and am fully committed to supporting a seamless transition.”
Murren was instrumental in the development of MGM’s CityCenter property, which opened in 2009 and centered around Aria Resort & Casino. MGM also credited Murren with being “deeply involved” in the construction of T-Mobile Arena and spearheaded operations that brought multiple professional sports franchises to the city.
MGM has formed a committee of independent directors to search for a replacement.
The company is currently making several changes to its business model and has moved towards an “asset light strategy” where it is selling the real estate where its businesses are run and then leasing the land back from the buyer.
Last October, MGM sold Bellagio to Blackstone and Circus Circus to Phil Ruffin. In January, the company sold Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand. Outside of the deal with Ruffin, MGM will continue to run the day-to-day operations of those properties.