Home » VT News » Jennifer Dunne Leaves Wynn

Jennifer Dunne Leaves Wynn

By Chuckmonster on Friday, 18th February 2011 6:58pm
  » filed under Wynn Resorts  comments: 13


I just received an email from Jennifer Dunne, Wynn Resorts' VP of PR and Advertising announcing that she has resigned her position at Wynn Las Vegas, effective today.

The fact that none of us knew this was coming - no rumors, innuendo, hints or insider tips - leads me to believe that this was a very sudden decision. One can't help but wonder if the recent hiring of Madeline Winn Spiegel to replace Andrew Pascal had something to do with the decision, as Pascal (now Ms. Spiegel) was Jenn Dunne's boss.

Jenn was one of the first people in the casino pr biz to fully embrace VegasTripping and the wacky way with which we have explored the wonders of Wynn. She has continually been a wellspring of information, eager to answer our questions, arrange meetings, share contacts and invite us to come see their latest and greatest creations before anyone else. Never, not once has she asked us to change, edit, redact or wagged a finger at any of our commentary... including secret scoops, deserved bashings, C&D smack downs or surreptitiously acquired renderings or factoids. Words can hardly convey how much she has helped us help you have the great Wynn experiences you have had.

Jennifer Dunne is the definition of a class act.

On behalf of the entire VT staff and community, we wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors wherever they may be.


Tagged: wynn   


Comments & Discussion:

I'm sure she was particularly fond of your "turd in the pool" story.

Best wishes, Jenn.

so a handful of senior people have left now?

sounds like there is a new sheriff in town, I can't imagine this will be good for Wynn's customer base.

Please accept employment at MGM Resorts, Ms. Dunne.

Note: I wrote this as a reply to Steve Friess' blog post, but it won't let me submit it. My rambling thoughts are appropriate here, too, so here it is:

My 2-cents on Wynncore and the major changes. A friend who is industry-knowledgeable said that Marilyn Winn Spiegel, who was the top operating exec in Vegas for Harrah's, was very respected by the entire industry. Obviously, Steve must have equally respected her ability since he hired her. My friend also said that Winn would bring more bottom line focus to WYNN which has not always been the case with Steve. Regardless of the spin Steve put on the sale of Mirage Resorts to Kirk Kerkorian and MGM Grand, Steve lost control of the company because of investor unrest over Steve's over-the-top disregard for fiscal restraint. MIR shareholders were paid somewhere around $22 a share in the sale. Many say that if Steve had managed the company more responsibly, it should have been a $56 stock. Regardless, Steve's leadership at Wynncore showed that he learned his lesson and has been much more prudent at Wynn Resorts.

However, now it seems Steve has been distracted again, both professionally and personally. His vision and phenomenal success in Macau naturally caused him to love his Las Vegas "child" a little less than his new Macau "child." His conference call comments in the past year about being more a Chinese company than an American one, say to me that his emotional attachment to Las Vegas has diminished as Steve Friess pointed out.

Wynn is very smart, and he realizes that Las Vegas in the '90s and early years of this century were like the U.S. in the 1920s. Those days are gone forever, or at least for years to come, so he needed to change his focus in the company. The unfolding changes at Wynncore, which dismay me as much as they do everyone else, may be the best business decision Steve can make for the property. Run it efficiently and maximize profits in this new economy. Who better to do that than the operating experts from Harrah's (blech.)

In the meantime, Steve will use his considerable talent to maximize profts in Macau and further, build his best property yet on Cotai. His divorce from Elaine, his relationship with Andrea, his becoming a Vegan and a follower of Buddhism all remind us what a complex person Steve Wynn is. Will he unfold more surprises for us in the future? Time will tell, but Steve is now 69 years old and Asia may be his final statement to the world.

All of this is fascinating, but it doesn't make me happy. I remember staring at the mostly sand land on which he built The Mirage and watched it magically transformed into the South Seas. Even Treasure Island appealed to me in its original form with all the Steve Wynn details like bone chandeliers and carpeting which looked like the jewels from pirate booty. Then came Bellagio, still Steve's masterpiece in my mind.

I hope Steve surprises me again, but I fear it won't be in Las Vegas.

When I'm able to post my interview with Marilyn Spiegel, I think that a lot of people will understand her management approach better. In addition to getting some really good backstory on her early career (for example, she taught fashion-related courses for a bit in the 1980s), she really opened up about her management style and greatly expanded on the "siloing" that SW referenced in the conference call. I'll be uploading it when the profile article runs, which should be in 2 weeks or so.

Just one thing--she is very committed to "leading in luxury" at Wynn.

Dave, thanks for the encouraging words about Marilyn Spiegel being committed to luxury at Wynn. Wish we didn't have to wait two weeks for your article on her.

Best of luck to Ms. Dunne. Her impressive work at Wynn speaks for itself, and there is every reason to believe that amazing things are in store for her future.

I kind of feel like some of the changes at Wynn reflect the bitterness between Steve and Elaine, post divorce. First the Pascal resignation, then the targeted closing of Alex, whose staircase was supposedly Elaine's homage to Hello Dolly. Pure conjecture, mind you, but it seems like Steve is kind of purging Elaine from the hotel, in a weird way.

cotai will certainly be interesting.

keep hope alive for US economy and future wynn vegas project?

I have worked at several of Wynn's properties, following him to each of his newest and best properties. I used to tell everyone that working at a Steve Wynn property was the only place I would work. Not only was he great at what he did but he also cared about his employees. He knew that a beautiful property was only part of success. He also knew that his employees were what made him money and his properties the best. But a month after Madeline started I knew that it was time for me to leave. In my eyes Harrah's properties have never even been considered competition for Wynn Resorts or MGM Resorts. Hiring someone who ran Harrah's to run Wynn was a sign that Steve no longer cares about the business or his employees. Our initial comments were, "why is he lowering his standards to that of Harrah's"? With all the great people leaving and bringing in a lower class of executives the Wynn Resorts will be brought down several notches. I have gone back to work for MGM Resorts since in my eyes Wynn Resorts no longer exists. It's like the Golden Nugget which was once great when owned by MGM Mirage and now it is just a place downtown that doesn't care about employees and doesn't believe in wanting returning customers. It is good for Jennifer that she left, for her own reasons or theirs, either way it is good for her. Now she can go to work for a company that compares with what Wynn was before he got distracted and quit caring about his Las Vegas properties.

Perhaps she can join the many former Wynn employees I encountered at Cosmopolitan. To a one, they all expressed their happiness with leaving there, too.

Here is some wild-ass speculation: Any chance that Steve could be positioning the LV properties for sale? This would certainly free him up to spend 100% of his time and energy on Macau/Cotai and any other Asian ventures he may decide to pursue. While I seriously doubt he would sell in the current depressed real estate environment, 2-3 years out could be an entirely different story.

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