Gary Loveman is not your typical Las Vegas CEO. The Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation Chief Executive Officer and Chairman has little interest in designer goods, doesn’t really have a thing for luxury hotels and, despite spending most of his time in Sin City, actually lives in Boston.
This former Harvard Business School professor certainly isn’t a traditional corporate executive but then, that seems to be working in his favor. For the past 15 years, he’s held prominent positions within the Caesar’s/Harrah’s gaming world, and for the last ten, has headed Caesar’s Entertainment. He is responsible for attracting gamers and gamblers to the casinos under his umbrella, of which include the luxe Caesar’s Palace, Bally’s, Harrah’s, the Flamingo, Planet Hollywood and Paris, among others. He has made gaming itself – not the glitzy and glamorous attractions of Vegas – his strategy for attracting guests.
“It’s all about having the right people feeling as they can do their best work to that end,”
Though he is the man in charge, Loveman graciously credits his employees for keeping Caesar’s a well-oiled machine. “It’s all about having the right people feeling as they can do their best work to that end,” Loveman says. “We have over 75,000 people working at over 54 properties. Nothing I can do personally will affect the experience of our guests, but I can find very talented, highly motivated people who will do their best work on behalf of our guests. Tutoring, motivating, working with people is always the best approach to success.”
Equal parts change and comfort are also instrumental to Loveman’s master plan. While retaining the timeless sensibility of resorts like Caesar’s, he also wishes to implement the new like online gambling, of which he is a huge advocate. “Each of our brands has certain things that are timeless, that include luxury and indulgence as the all-encompassing experience of the resort. I don’t anticipate those features will change in the foreseeable future,” Loveman maintains, adding, what we do will change with our guests, with what our competitors are doing. We have remarkable facilities now, but everything has evolved over time. You want to try to always have the brand evolve.”
Caesar’s is also overseeing a slew of big new projects in the 2013-2014 season, projects which are specifically unrelated to the gaming world he has so carefully cultivated. Those include the new Nobu Hotel, developer Rick Caruso’s open-air retail and dining center, The Linq, leisure nightlife hotel the Gansevoort and the world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller.
Though he’s proud of the latter’s creation, its name is not a title Loveman would apply to himself.
“I don’t live a life of luxury,” he confesses, hastening to add, “I am very lucky because I travel well, but I don’t have an affinity for luxury hotels. I have an appreciation for great hotels, but it’s not a requirement in my life.”
Nor does he have an affinity for designer goods, unless said items are of a personal investment. “I’m not a big shopper,” he admits. “When I’m looking for unique items, I head to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s. I’ve been on the board of Coach for 10 years though, so I’d have to say I’m a big Coach enthusiast. They’re my go-to gifts!”
For such a high-powered individual whose career is based in the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, the things that Loveman values and holds dear are surprisingly simple.
Those would be his family, and the time he spends at his permanent residence in Boston, where he has lived for the past 30 years.
“I travel every week, so I’m usually only home on the weekends. We are developing a casino in Boston, so now I travel on average four days a week,” he explains.
Not a bad turnout for a man who never intended to live this particular life.
“I was an academic, and I didn’t anticipate that I’d be doing this, but I had an interest in what one could do to customize the experience of doing something they enjoyed,” he says, vowing, “I wouldn’t be selling automobiles or tires, certainly. This [career change] turned out to be the greatest thing possible.”
During his days at Harvard, Loveman was teaching theories on the service economy. Now, he’s running an empire. Though his career path has diverted completely, he has never looked back.
“I was teaching at Harvard and had done some consulting for the company,” he explains. “I always intended to return to Harvard after my two-year sabbatical, but I became increasingly involved with Harrah’s to the point where I decided to stay with them full-time. I have always felt strongly that I made the right decision. I haven’t ever regretted it.”