Murren informed the company’s board of directors in early February of his plans to step down prior to the expiration of his contract. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Murren vacated his position Sunday so as to provide continuity of leadership for the company.
"The nation is facing an unprecedented crisis, causing the travel and hospitality industry to grind to a near halt,” Salem said in a statement. “It is clear that once the threat to the public health has subsided and we are ready to reopen our resorts and casinos, it will take an incredible effort to ramp back up. We believe continued steady, skilled leadership is needed in this time of great upheaval and uncertainty. Bill is one of the most experienced operators in the business and we have confidence in his ability to bring this company back online. Jim Murren is an outstanding leader who transformed MGM Resorts during his 22 years. Since Jim announced his stepping down from MGM Resorts, we felt that now more than ever, continuity of leadership was of vital importance."
"I fully support accelerating the planned leadership transition to help MGM Resorts address the rapidly changing environment," Murren said in a statement. "I have great confidence in Bill Hornbuckle and the management team to lead MGM Resorts at this critical juncture, as we have together through numerous hardships of the past. I will continue to dedicate my efforts to help during this uncertain time, and I will be assisting the state of Nevada in its crisis response and recovery efforts."
"We have an incredible challenge ahead,” Hornbuckle said in a statement. “We have a talented leadership team, the best employees in the world, and a loyal customer base. I have every confidence that MGM Resorts will remain the global entertainment leader once this crisis is contained and it is safe to operate.”
Hornbuckle is a four-decade veteran of the gaming industry. Before serving as president/COO, he held the role of chief marketing officer at MGM Resorts. Before that, past roles included president/COO at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, president/COO of MGM Resorts International-Europe and president/COO of MGM Grand Las Vegas.
The MGM Resorts portfolio encompasses 29 hotel and destination gaming offerings worldwide, a number of which are closed because of COVID-19.