• Thu
  • Jul 31, 2014
  • Updated: 6:36am

Sands president quits over Adelson disputes

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 March, 2009, 12:00am

Las Vegas Sands Corp president and chief operating officer William Weidner (right) has resigned, the latest in a series of changes at the top at the casino developer.

Mr Weidner, who spent 13 years at the company controlled by chairman, chief executive and majority shareholder Sheldon Adelson, quit after a protracted board-room battle he had characterised as a 'junkyard dogfight' among top management.

'Last year, with falling stock prices and worsening global economic conditions, disagreements and conflicts arose between me and the chairman, Sheldon Adelson,' the 63-year-old Mr Weidner was quoted by Bloomberg as saying Monday.

'He's the [chief executive], he's the majority owner, and just recently he has insisted on having more control over the day-to-day operations, and I figured it was time for me to then move on.'

Mr Weidner will be replaced by Michael Leven, a 48-year hospitality industry veteran who has sat on the board since 2004. Shares in Sands fell after Monday's midday announcement in New York, to close down 19.77 per cent at a record low of US$1.42. They have declined 76.05 per cent year to date.

Mr Weidner's departure and the subsequent new appointments came as Sands faced financial challenges that led to the suspension of work on a 6,400-room Cotai casino complex and the layoff of 11,000 construction workers in November.

The firm raised US$2.1 billion that same month to avoid defaulting on its loans by selling discounted shares.

But weeks before the fund-raising, Mr Adelson, Mr Weidner and other executives were entangled in a management squabble.

The dispute may have delayed the share sale. It also led the firm's board to set up a special 'executive committee' to respond to 'a number of outstanding differences between [Mr Adelson] and other senior management', the company has said in stock exchange filings.

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