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Arnold M. Knightly

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Wynn Macau president leaves

6 Jul 2007

By Arnold M. Knightly

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Wynn Resorts Ltd. on Tuesday announced Wynn Macau President Grant Bowie will leave the company Friday after nearly four years with the company.

In a statement, the company said Ian Coughlan, current director of hotels for Wynn Worldwide, will replace Bowie. The statement didn't explain Bowie's departure. Wynn Resorts spokeswoman Denise Randazzo declined to comment beyond the statement.

Coughlin joined Wynn Resorts in January from luxury hotel operator Peninsula Group, where he was general manager of Peninsula Hong Kong.

"We are delighted to have a man of Ian's caliber stepping in," Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn said in the statement, making no reference to Bowie's departure.

Bowie's departure comes nearly a month after Wynn Resorts announced it was delaying its expansion plans in Macau because of new travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese government and increasing competition.

The company said June 7 that it will open 25,000 square feet of additional gaming space by the end of September. Wynn Macau previously planned a 123,000-square-foot expansion, but scaled that back to only add 25 table games, 200 slot machines and a restaurant.

Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Bill Lerner said the scale-back of expansion plans at Wynn Macau and Bowie's departure are probably unrelated.

"Beyond what's in the press release it's difficult to say why Bowie actually left," he said. "If it doesn't have something to do with him being hired away it certainly doesn't have anything to do with fundamentals. It is not a red flag."

The $1.2 billion Wynn Macau opened last September with 600 hotel rooms and a 110,000-square-foot casino with 256 table games and 477 slot machines.

Wynn Resorts said recently it was concerned about the market impact of the $2.4 billion Venetian Macau, which scheduled to open in August, and the $1.1 billion MGM Grand Macau, which is scheduled to open in November.

Wynn said in early June that second-quarter results "significantly exceeded expectations," although the company won't disclose earnings publicly until the end of July or early August.

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