Las Vegas Sands’ Adelson Takes Leave for Cancer Treatment
(Bloomberg) -- Sheldon Adelson, chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp. as well as its Macau arm, is taking a leave of absence after resuming treatment for cancer.
Adelson had retained his executive role since the company revealed in 2019 that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. President Robert Goldstein will take up Adelson’s duties as acting chairman and acting CEO, according to a statement Thursday.
Adelson, 87, is the company’s majority shareholder and one of the world’s biggest gambling moguls, overseeing operations from the Las Vegas Strip to Macau. He’s a prominent donor to Republican politics in the U.S., having backed outgoing President Donald Trump.
The appointment is unlikely to cause changes in the group’s strategic direction or operations at its Sands China arm, which is run by a local management team, according to DS Kim, gaming analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The impact on Sands’ relations with Macau and Beijing “may be open for debate, but we similarly see no negative impact on its positioning in the market,” Kim wrote in a research note on Thursday. He said Goldstein has long been in the position as “the next man up” and is widely respected by investors, casino peers, employees and the Adelson family.
Macau, the world’s biggest gambling market, generated 63% of Sands’ $13.7 billion in revenue in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic struck. Covid-19 has devastated the casino industry, as it has other businesses where people gather in large numbers. Macau casinos ended their worst year on record in 2020, with gross gaming revenue plunging close to 80%.
The son of a cabdriver from Boston, Adelson is the world’s 37th-richest man, according to Bloomberg data. His family also has newspaper interests in the U.S. and Israel.
He has long suffered from peripheral neuropathy, a disorder that makes it difficult for him to walk. The cancer often made him too weak to come to the office or attend company events.
Adelson, his wife, Miriam, and trusts for the benefit of their children own a majority of Sands shares. Goldstein, his longtime No. 2, signed a new contract in 2018 that runs until 2024.
Las Vegas Sands shares fell 0.7% to $58.15 in New York on Thursday. The stock is down 18% in the past year. Sands China shares dropped 2.1% in early trading in Hong Kong on Friday.
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