The new top man in the Sands has described a slew of departures of senior executives as 'regrettable casualties'. In the two years since it set up business, a series of Las Vegas appointed leaders have left. Numerous changes have bred nervousness in the ranks, says one middle manager. 'We have people disappearing overnight and we dare not ask questions,' she said. Frank McFadden, chief operating officer of Venetian Macau that runs the Sands, played down the significance of the departures. 'I would say that at a pioneering stage, opening a new gaming concept, in an established industry, with the principle of going against all the traditional wisdom within Macau, is bound to cause stress. Consequently and regretfully there will be casualties,' he said. The first general manager, appointed in 2003, was American David Mitchell. He resigned in October that year when a Vietnamese-Australian, Thuy Trinh, was appointed by the Las Vegas head office to chief operating officer, a position above him. Mr Trinh kept a humbly low profile during his short-lived tenure and shied away from the press. In June last year, less than a month after the Sands opened, several executives were fired. Mr Trinh's position was frozen, which meant he was paid but was not required to perform the duties of a chief operating officer. He resigned that month. Mr McFadden, formerly with Casinos Austria International, was appointed chief operating officer of Venetian Macau in November and arrived in town last month. Some observers have attributed the replacements to a hands-on approach of the top executives in parent company Las Vegas Sands.