Fahrenkopf to retire as head of AGA

Frank Fahrenkopf, the only head of the American Gaming Association since its 1995 inception, is stepping down at the end of June.

Like a great athlete getting out on top, Fahrenkopf leaves to plenty of encomia, as you will see below. He is a Reno guy, former RNC National Chairman and attorney who managed to keep the disparate gaming companies together (most of the time) and stay in a job that is the equivalent of having a board made up of Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adelson and Donald Trump. But no one ever said, "You're fired," and he leaves a legacy of accomplishments -- no federal gaming tax yet! -- and a remarkable abiity to navigate treacherous political and business waters.

He's not retiring, just getting out, probably at just the right time. My guess is we will see a professorship, maybe a memoir in his future.

I think his picture is in the dictionary next to "silky smooth."

More at some point on him......

Here's the AGA release:



Tenure of Organization’s First and Only Chief Executive
Marked by Significant Accomplishment


WASHINGTON – Frank Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), announced today that he is stepping down from his AGA position, effective June 30, 2013.


“I have enjoyed my time at the helm of this incredible organization and am proud to have represented an industry that provides tens of millions of men and women with the best entertainment value in the world,” Fahrenkopf said. “It has been a true honor to work with so many passionate and innovative leaders as we have moved the industry forward during the past 17 ½ years.”


The AGA board and Fahrenkopf have been involved in succession planning over the course of the past two years and reached an agreement in December 2011 on the date when he would step down. Fahrenkopf has been the first and only chief executive of the AGA since its inception in July 1995.


“I cannot begin to express the tremendous gratitude and respect our entire board holds for Frank,” said Richard Haddrill, chairman of Bally Technologies, Inc. and chairman of the AGA. “He has been a steady, thoughtful leader through a period of great change for our industry and has steered us through some of its most difficult challenges. The fact that today our industry is recognized as a vital part of the global economy is in no small part due to his tireless efforts and leadership.” 


Fahrenkopf noted that when the AGA was created, the perception of the gaming industry in Washington and throughout much of the country was based more on myth than reality. From its first day of operation, the AGA’s mission has been to create a better understanding of the industry by bringing the facts about it to the general public, elected officials, other decision makers and the media through education and advocacy.


The AGA has enjoyed tremendous success under Fahrenkopf’s leadership. Gaming industry leaders cited the positive findings and recommendations of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, the establishment and good works of the National Center for Responsible Gaming, and the worldwide success of industry trade shows Global Gaming Expo and G2E Asia as watershed accomplishments.


The creation and adoption of an industrywide code of conduct for responsible gaming, creation of the AGA Diversity Task Force to promote diversity in industry hiring and procurement, the recent establishment of the Global Gaming Women program and leadership in the pursuit of intelligent regulatory reform also are key successes.


"There's no doubt that Frank's political savvy has been instrumental in protecting and promoting our industry's interests on Capitol Hill, but the impact of his leadership stretches well beyond Washington,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “From the very start, he understood the need to unify the industry in addressing key issues like responsible gaming and diversity, programs that are at the cornerstone of how we do business.  It hasn't always been easy to bring our disparate group together, but he did it.  Frank's legacy at the AGA is testament to what we can accomplish together."


“Frank Fahrenkopf has led the AGA with unique understanding of both federal politics and the gaming industry,” said Gary Loveman, chairman, president and CEO of Caesars Entertainment Corp. “He has established our association as the voice of a dynamic and controversial industry, and done so with integrity, grace and consistent focus.”


In acknowledging the host of key individuals who have contributed to the AGA’s achievements over the years, Fahrenkopf said, “Too many people have played a major part in our success for me to name each of them, but I would like to acknowledge the AGA board members who have provided the support we needed to succeed, and, of course, the staff, both current and former, who made coming into the office each day a pleasure. I look forward to continuing to work with this talented group in the coming months as we transition to this new era for the AGA. Their experience leaves the organization in very good hands.”


An executive search firm has been retained to identify Fahrenkopf’s successor. Post-June 30, he will be retained as a consultant to the AGA to assist with the transition through at least the end of 2013.


Fahrenkopf was the chairman of the Republication National Committee for six of Ronald Reagan’s eight years in the White House and led the party through successful presidential elections in 1984 and 1988. He continues to serve as co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which conducts the general election presidential and vice presidential debates in presidential election years.