Compensation bounces back for top Las Vegas executives

Courtsey of Wynn Resorts

Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn, second from left, stands with Wynn International Marketing President Linda Chen at the grand opening of Encore at Wynn Macau in April 2010. Wynn ranked at No. 2 on the 2010 list of highest-paid executives with $14.6 million while Chen, the first woman to break the top 10, ranked at No. 5 with $13.47 million.

Last year brought fatter paychecks for Las Vegas’ top executives as the city’s economy began its slow crawl back to pre-recession levels.

Almost all of Las Vegas’ top executives saw boosts in their compensation packages in a sign that business was more lucrative in 2010 than 2009 for Southern Nevada — especially gaming executives.

Compensation packages on a list of more than 100 executives of publicly reporting companies ranged from nearly $32 million to $229,000 in 2010, according to an analysis of recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Ulf Buchholz, research director of VEGAS INC, a sister publication of the Las Vegas Sun.

VEGAS INC calculates total compensation based on an executive’s base salary, bonus, nonequity compensation, change in pension, all other compensation, options exercised and stocks vested. The calculation doesn’t include stock and option awards until the stocks vest or options are exercised.

Las Vegas Sands President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Leven took the top spot on the 2010 list with $31.8 million in total compensation, making a significant jump from No. 17 in 2009. Leven earned a base salary of $2 million, a bonus of $1 million and realized a gain of more than $28.6 million by exercising stock options.

The Sands executive knocked Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn from the No. 1 spot, which he held in 2009. He ranks at No. 2.

Wynn took home more than $14.6 million in 2010, an increase of about $6.2 million from his compensation package in 2009. Wynn’s compensation package included a base salary of $2.95 million and a bonus of $3.22 million. He also received nonequity compensation of $6.9 million and $1.54 million in all other compensation.

Compensation packages include any gains in the value of retirement plans, earnings from the sale of stock or stock options and other executive perks such as high-end health insurance plans and allowances for use of company cars and airplanes.

The usual gaming executives topped the 2010 list without a nongaming executive coming into play until No. 12. That executive was Michael Yackira, CEO of NV Energy who earned $4.7 million in 2010.

Pinnacle Entertainment, a Las Vegas-based company that runs regional casinos, had the most executives on the list at seven. Compensation packages for its top executives listed ranged from $3.52 million to $406,000.

Other publicly reporting companies named numerous times on the list include Station Casinos, Boyd Gaming, Southwest Gas, gaming supplier Bally Technologies and Tropicana Entertainment.

Wynn Resorts executives held five spots on the list of more than 100 executives, including three in the top 10, while Las Vegas Sand held six spots and three in the top 10. MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment both hold five spots on the list each.

Caesars Entertainment President and CEO Gary Loveman, who held the No. 1 spot in 2008 at $92.3 million, fell to No. 9 on the 2010 list with $5.89 million in total compensation. Loveman held the No. 5 spot in 2009 with $6 million.

Jim Murren, MGM Resorts International’s chairman and CEO, fell from No. 3 to No. 8 on the 2010 list, but his compensation increased from $6.7 million in 2009 to $7.65 million in 2010.

Las Vegas Sands CEO and Chairman Sheldon Adelson fell five spots below his COO, Leven, with $9.56 million in total compensation. Adelson moved up from No. 10 in 2009.

The 2010 list also brought the first female to break the top five. Linda Chen, president of Wynn International Marketing, ranked at No. 5, earning $13.47 million in 2010. Chen ranked at No. 12 last year. Fellow Wynn executive Kim Sinatra was the second highest paid female at No. 17 with more than $3 million in compensation.

After many companies discontinued bonuses in 2009 because of the ailing economy, they returned in 2010. More than 40 executives received bonuses in 2010, ranging from $25,000 to $2 million.

Nonequity compensation, performance-based pay that is neither labeled a salary nor bonus, is what boosted several top executives on the 2010 list. Executives qualify for incentive pay if their companies meet or exceed predetermined performance goals.

Wynn received the most in nonequity compensation at $6.9 million, which compares with his 2010 base salary of $2.95 million.

Adelson received $5.66 million in nonequity compensation while Murren received $4.31 million. Wynn Resorts Chief Operating Officer Marc Schorr, who ranked No. 3 with a total compensation package of $13.93 million, received nonequity compensation in the amount of $3.4 million.



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  1. The "Filthy Rich"...

    The Filthy Fifty hauled in well in excess of $200 MILLION while many of their lower echelon wage earners railed on about "evil public employees" like Teachers trying to scratch out a living here in the desert, and how everyone needs to "share the pain!"...

    Yeah... ohhh-kee-dokee..

    Realize this; Some of these Filthy Fifty made their dough by CUTTING OUT YOUR JOB. And taking away YOUR benefits...
    This is what's ruining America....
    The concentration of WEALTH amongst the "chosen few", while the masses eat cake.

    Keep listening to the pablum on Fox & your AM radio...I'm SURE the Talking Heads will have a message for you;
    "This is how JOBS are created!"
    "They've EARNED IT!"
    "Trickle-Down Economics WORKS!"
    "These folks work HARD for their money, and DESERVE EVERY PENNY"!
    Of course, when a Teacher, for example, points out that THEY have paid their dues, they are met with snarky derision from TeaNuts and fools...
    I repeat, for those not paying attention:
    You have been HAD.
    And, for some odd reason, YOU LIKE IT!

  2. Mitt Romney and his Hedge Fund did very well taking over American Companies, Laying Off Employees and the moving the jobs to China.
    When he says he knows how to create jobs - has he created Any American Jobs?

    Many companies that transferred jobs to China will be slowly worked out of the country as the knowledge transfer is complete. Look at the US Casegoods Market.