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Fontainebleau Las Vegas Has Lost Four Executives since Grand Opening

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Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a recent addition to the iconic Strip skyline, is grappling with executive-level turmoil merely a month after its grand unveiling. The resort has witnessed the unexpected departure of four key figures from its administrative cadre, causing ripples in its high-caliber managerial hierarchy.

The Fontainebleau Curse Continues

The exodus began with the exit of Michael Clifford, Vice President of Casino Operations, in late December. This was closely followed by an announcement on January 11 of the resignations of Chief Operating Officer Colleen Birch and Chief Marketing Officer Shane Smith.

Related: Fontainebleau Las Vegas Assembles Top Team Ahead of Grand Opening

The latest departure came from Vice President of Revenue Management Angie Dobney, as confirmed by a resort representative on Tuesday.

Clifford, a seasoned industry veteran with stints at renowned establishments such as Resorts World Las Vegas and Wynn Palace, joined Fontainebleau in early 2023. Birch, boasting a legacy spanning over a decade at Cosmopolitan, left her position swiftly following Blackstone's divestiture.

Smith brought his significant portfolio to the team. Dobney, an experienced revenue and customer relationship management professional, had previously worked in strategic consulting firms and held roles in revenue management for other Las Vegas-area properties.

Despite the prominence of these departures, no reasons have been provided for the executive exodus.

A Casino Mired in Controversy and Trouble

The Fontainebleau project traces its roots back to 2005 when Jeffrey Soffer, owner of the classic Rat Pack Miami hotel bearing the same name, announced the brand's expansion to Las Vegas. Initially envisioned as a 4,000-room hotel with a casino and condos, the project aimed for a late 2008 opening.

However, complications arose during construction, with a 2009 Las Vegas Sun investigation revealing issues of construction outpacing designs, leading to tensions between developers and contractors.

Consequently, the project collapsed in 2009, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and becoming a symbol of the Great Recession on the Strip. For years, the Fontainebleau project then remained abandoned despite changing ownership multiple times.

Carl Icahn briefly held it, and in 2017, an investment group promised to revive it as The Drew with Marriott. However, this endeavor stalled in 2020 amid the pandemic. Soffer reentered the scene in 2021, clinging to the Fontainebleau concept. Almost 2,000 completed but unused rooms were renovated, and on December 13, 2023, Fontainebleau finally opened its doors to guests.

The recent executive departures add a layer of uncertainty to Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a resort that has overcome a tumultuous history to finally materialize on the Strip after years of setbacks and transformations. Barely a month after opening its doors, its future might follow the same trajectory.

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