On the Move is a monthly recap of promotions and recent hires within the commercial/tribal casino, regulatory and game equipment and services marketplaces. This month, we cover Anthony (Tony) Rodio named new CEO of Caesars Entertainment; Mary Elizabeth Higgins appointed CEO for Affinity Gaming; Ian Freeman has been tapped to the post of vice president of global business development for IGT PlayDigital.
» AFFINITY GAMING
Mary Elizabeth Higgins has been named CEO for Affinity Gaming, a diversified casino gaming company headquartered in Las Vegas. Higgins had been serving as Affinity’s CFO and COO.
For nearly 20 years, Higgins has held executive roles in the gaming sector, focusing on strategic financial management, capital formation, acquisition strategies and investor relations. Before joining Affinity in 2018, she was instrumental in establishing VICI Properties, a REIT spinoff from Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, where she served as its CFO.
Earlier in her career, Higgins was a CFO at companies such as Global Cash Access Holdings, Herbst Gaming and Camco.
Adam Whitehurst has joined AGS as vice president of strategic accounts. Whitehurst joins AGS with 24 years of experience in gaming, technology and pharmaceuticals.
Whitehurst is an accomplished sales leader and business development executive with more than two decades of experience in gaming, where he led sales teams to high levels of performance, successfully integrated sales teams after mergers and acquisitions, negotiated complex, multi-year, enterprise-wide deals and established a strong track record of customer success and building high-performance teams.
Whitehurst most recently worked at Scientific Games, where he was the vice president of game sales for five years, with responsibility for the eastern U.S. Prior to that, he served with Bally Technologies as vice president of games sales—central region.
» CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION
The board of directors for Caesars Entertainment have selected Anthony (Tony) Rodioto become the company’s new CEO.
Rodio has nearly four decades of experience in the gaming industry. Since October 2018, he has served as CEO of Affinity Gaming. Prior to this, he served as president, CEO and a member of the board of directors of Tropicana Entertainment. During his time at Tropicana, Rodio oversaw a period of unprecedented growth at the company, improving overall financial results with net revenue that increased more than 50 percent, driven by both operational improvements and expansion across regional markets. Rodio led major capital projects including the complete renovation of Tropicana Atlantic City and Tropicana’s move to land-based operations in Evansville, Ind.
Prior to Tropicana, Rodio held a variety of roles at Hollywood Casino and Harrah’s Entertainment.
Ian Freeman has been tapped to the post of vice president of global business development and commercial for IGT PlayDigital. He will be based in IGT’s London office.
Freeman’s career in global gaming and technology extends more than 20 years. Most recently, he was group chief commercial officer at iGaming software company EveryMatrix Group. Prior to that, he served for five years as chief commercial officer for sports betting technology provider, Kambi.
» KONAMI GAMING
Industry veteran Sathish Anantharaman has been named vice president, systems software development for Konami Gaming, where he will support the continued growth and innovation of the company’s award-winning SYNKROS casino management system.
Anantharaman has pioneered an array of leading systems products from concept to delivery, in areas spanning player loyalty and table games, table games automation, central monitoring, responsible gaming, facial recognition, mobile applications and more. In his role as vice president of systems software development, he is responsible for managing day-to-day operations of the SYNKROS development group, working closely with teams across the business to ensure product innovation, quality and customer satisfaction.
» SAN MANUEL CASINO
San Manuel Casino, which is owned and operated by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, has promoted Kenji Hall to COO and Toni Pepper to chief information technology officer.
In his new role, Hall will oversee the administration and execution of activities for San Manuel Casino, ensure maximized and sustainable revenues for the tribe, lead a culture of world-class customer service and oversee the casino’s expansion project.
Hall joined San Manuel as COO of the hospitality division in 2017 and has since led the team to substantial growth. He has over 30 years of executive and management experience in gaming and hospitality, having served as assistant general manager for Primm Valley Resorts and for other well-known organizations including MGM Resorts and Hilton.
Pepper will lead all information technology (IT) strategy and operations for San Manuel and manage the tribe’s technology leadership team. Pepper joins San Manuel with 22 years of experience in gaming and hospitality and has served as San Manuel’s interim CITO for the last nine months.
» SEGA SAMMY CREATION USA
Scott Winzeler has been appointed chairman and chief executive officer for SEGA SAMMY CREATION USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of SEGA SAMMY CREATION in Nevada.
With more than 25 years of experience in the gaming industry, Winzeler will be responsible for overseeing the company’s operation in North America and focus to expand the company’s presence in the market.