The process for naming Craig Billings chief executive at Wynn Resorts didn’t take long, especially after he explained to the company’s board why he was the best person to be just the third CEO in the casino operator’s history.
After former Wynn CEO Matt Maddox told the board last fall that he was stepping down on Jan. 31, Wynn Chairman Phil Satre said the directors had to make one of two choices: promote Billings, the company’s chief financial officer, or conduct a national search, typically the choice favored by corporate governance experts.
“We debated that decision very heavily,” Satre said. “We ultimately decided after a lot of discussions and as an organization that we wanted to take the second route. But we also wanted Craig to come into the boardroom before we voted, and tell us why he wanted the job and why he thought he was qualified.”
Billings’ presentation changed the board’s direction.
“I think one of the things that Matt did really well was to give Craig increased responsibility,” Satre said. “That demonstrated to the board that Craig had not only the financial chops that were required to be an effective CFO, but he also had the leadership and the operational chops to be a CEO. He gave us a very good inside candidate.”