On April 16, 2019, Caesars Entertainment confirmed what many had suspected for some time: it’s next CEO would be serving head of Affinity Gaming, Anthony Rodio. Rodio would be stepping into the shoes of outgoing CEO Mark Frissora, and the task in front of him was clear: cut debt, re-organize assets, rejuvenate a flagging cooperate culture and help restore Caesars position as a leader in the gaming industry. With 37 years in the gaming industry behind him, it’s a challenge Rodio is more than ready to take on. To find out more about the new CEO, keep reading.
1. He was a top executive at Affinity Gaming
Prior to his appointment to CEO of Caesars Entertainment, Anthony Rodio had held the top executive spot at Affinity Gaming since October 2018. The privately held Affinity controls five Nevada casino’s (including 3 Primm resorts and the Silver Sevens) along with multiple casinos in Colorado, Missouri and Iowa. Rodeo was appointed to the CEO position after its acquisition by Z Capital Partners LLC, the private equity management arm of Z Capital Group LLC in 2017.
2. He increased Tropicana’s revenue by 50%
Before joining Affinity in 2018, Rodio served as the President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors of Tropicana Entertainment, Inc.. During his time at the helm, Rodio oversaw a period of transformative growth, culminating in a 50% increase in net revenue and substantial expansion into new regional markets. He also orchestrated several major renovations, including the multi- million-dollar renovation of Tropicana Atlantic City. Prior to taking on the leadership position at Tropicana, Rodio served in various senior positions at Hollywood Casino and Harrah’s.
3. He started his career as an accounting clerk
The best of careers sometimes have the most inauspicious of starts- and this is certainly true in Anthony Rodio’s case. After graduating, Rodio’s first experience of the gaming industry was as a lowly accounting clerk in the 1980’s. While it may not have provided the kind of challenge Rodio was looking for, it did at least give him his first step on the ladder- it would only be a matter of time before he started climbing the rungs through successive executive positions to claim his current position at the top.
4. He’s a board member of multiple foundations
Outside of his day-to-day activities with Caesars, Rodio manages to fit in board membership of several notable charitable and professional organizations. Currently benefiting from his patronage is Atlantic City Alliance, United Way of Atlantic County, the Casino Associations of New Jersey and Indiana, AtlantiCare Charitable Foundation and the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming Hospitality & Tourism.
5. He replaced Mark Frissora as CEO of Caesars
In April 2019, it was announced that Rodio would be replacing outgoing CEO of Caesars Entertainment , Mark Frissora. Frissora had previously announced his intention to leave the company by February, but later agreed to stay on until his successor was found. Frissora, the former chairman and CEO of rental car giant Hertz, had served as CEO of Caesars since July 2015, after succeeding Gary Loveman to the position. In him, Rodio has some big shoes to fill: under Frissora’s leadership, Caesars was drawn back from the brink of bankruptcy in what seemed at times an impossible task.
6. He was tapped for the position by Carl Icahn
As the Wall street Journal reports, Rodio may have Carl Icahn to thank for his appointment to CEO of Caesar’s. Icahn, who owns a 15% share in Caesar’s, first worked with Rodio at Tropicana. Icahn (who at the time was serving as Tropicana’s chairperson) was clearly an early fan, stating at the time of Rodio’s appointment to CEO ”We are fortunate to have an experienced and respected leader in Tony. He has done an excellent job for Tropicana Atlantic City”. Years later, Icahn would remember his former prodigy and push Caesars to consider Rodio as its next chief.
7. He’s got a big job in front of him
Rodio may have a long history in the gaming industry, but whether he’s up to the mammoth task in front of him, only time will tell. His predecessor Mark Frissora may have steered the company through a bankruptcy fight, but Caesars is by no means out of the woods just yet. Not only has the corporate culture been damaged by the bankruptcy and frequent leadership changes, the company is still in significant debt, spends millions of dollars on corporate expenses and lacks a clear strategy for the future. “The new CEO will need to recreate the strategic direction of the company,” John DeCree, an analyst at Union Gaming, has said.
8. He’s a millionaire
The latest figures on Rodio’s salary haven’t yet been established, but based on his reported earnings from 2017, he’s already a millionaire. While serving as the CEO of Tropicana, Rodio pulled in $1,516,745 in annual compensation. According to Salary.com, this broke down to $750,000 in salary, $750,000 in bonus, and $16,745 from other types of compensation. Given that Caesars is by far the larger of the two companies, it’s fair to assume these figures have risen substantially with Rodio’s new appointment.
9. He’s optimistic about Caesars future
Despite the herculean task in front of him, Rodio is confident Caesars has a bright future to look forward to… and Caesars are just as confident Rodio is the man to deliver it. “Tony brings to Caesars a track record of operational excellence, proven leadership and deep industry knowledge and expertise,” said James Hunt, Chairman of Caesars’ Board. “Tony is a respected and highly accomplished executive who has successfully built and grown businesses in our industry throughout his career. We are confident that Tony has the vision and depth of operating experience to lead our talented senior management team”. Rodio, meanwhile, was equally enthused. “I have long admired Caesars and am optimistic about the Company’s future prospects,” he noted. “I look forward to leading Caesars’ exceptional team through the Company’s next phase of growth, innovation and value creation.”
10. He has an MBA from Monmouth University
You’d expect a CEO to have a qualification or two up their sleeve, and you’d be right. In Rodio’s case, he’s got qualifications aplenty, including a Bachelor of Science degree from Rider University and a Master of Business Administration from Monmouth University.