NagaWorld's chief operations officer has resigned 10 months after being appointed to the position, according to a statement issued by the casino operator yesterday.
Mark Brown, who was brought into the company in December to foster the casino firm’s VIP junket program and help drive the company’s expansion into Russia, tendered his resignation with parent company NagaCorp effective last Sunday.
“Mr. Brown has fulfilled satisfactorily the job assignments under his employment contract with NagaWorld and has laid the foundation of a VIP market in Macau and China, which will allow the present management team of the Company to build on, through business development and marketing initiatives in Macau and China,” a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange said.
The statement said that Brown’s reasons for leaving Cambodia’s largest gaming firm were to pursue other opportunities and were not the result of any disagreement with the company.
NagaCorp’s junket program has attracted more than $4 billion in player rollings over the first nine months of this year alone, up 25 per cent from the same period last year.
More recently, the gaming firm launched its own airline under the lessor name Bassaka Air to ferry in VIPs from the China and Macau markets to the Phnom Penh casino. Bassaka Air yesterday made its first official flight from Phnom Penh International Airport to Macau after receiving approval from the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation on October 7.
In September last year, the gaming company entered into an agreement with the Russian government to build a 1,000-room hotel and casino in Vladivostok by 2018 with an initial investment of $350 million.
But, according to a transcript of an investor’s phone conference, conducted on August 7 this year and obtained by the Post, NagaCorp is now reconsidering its all-in approach.
“Recently, we have had a re-think about the project, and our thought is that we should start small rather than go big,” Philip Lee, chief financial officer for NagaCorp was quoted as saying in the transcript.
“Now, $50 million is something we can swallow quite easily, and the rest of [the Russian project] to be developed in phases, up to a total of $350 million,” Lee said, adding that the new approach will hopefully fast track the casino’s initial opening.
NagaCorp’s exiting COO will be replaced by existing managing directors Lien Trung Phat and Mike Ngai.
NagaCorp declined to comment further on Brown’s resignation.