Boyd Gaming founder to step down as CEO
He will be succeeded by longtime company executive Keith Smith
LAS VEGAS » William S. Boyd, a founder of casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp., will step down as chief executive Jan. 1, to be replaced by longtime company senior executive Keith E. Smith, officials said yesterday.
Company officials and analysts said they didn't expect a change in philosophy at the Las Vegas-based company, which has grown from a single downtown hotel with 781 rooms in 1975 to 17 properties with thousands of hotel rooms in seven states.
Boyd's Vacations Hawaii charter flight subsidiary operates flights between Las Vegas and Honolulu, and the company has a strong following among Hawaii residents who flock to its hotels, including the California, every month.
"I don't see this as any big shock -- no negative or major change," Jefferies & Co. gambling industry analyst Lawrence Klatzkin said. "I think the company is as good today as it was yesterday."
Klatzkin noted that Boyd, 75, who founded the company with his father, Sam Boyd, in 1974, will remain in the board room as executive chairman.
Smith, 47, has been with the company for 17 years and has been chief operating officer since 2001.
Chief Financial Officer Paul J. Chakmak, 42, will replace Smith as chief operating officer, and the company will seek a new chief financial officer.
"Keith understands and supports the culture that has come to define and differentiate our company over the last 30 years," William Boyd said in a statement.