Newport World Resorts, previously known as Resorts World Manila, experienced a significant shakeup in its leadership team over the weekend. The long-serving CEO, Kingson Sian, retired effective Saturday, June 1, while COO Hakan Dagtas and CFO Bernard Than also stepped down from their positions on the same day. Both Dagtas and Than, who had dedicated over a decade to Newport, were formerly part of the executive team at Star Cruises, which was owned by Newport’s former partner, Genting Hong Kong.

The ownership and management of Newport World Resorts fall under Travellers International Hotel Group, a subsidiary of Alliance Global Group, Inc. (AGI), a major Philippines conglomerate. AGI acquired Genting Hong Kong’s stake in Travellers in May 2023. This acquisition followed the financial collapse of Genting Hong Kong and its associated cruise lines, a fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, in July 2022, the resort rebranded from Resorts World Manila to Newport World Resorts, shedding the Genting integrated resort brand due to Genting Hong Kong’s difficulties.

The leadership transition sees Nilo Rodriguez, previously the Chief Strategy Officer, stepping into the role of CEO, according to Inside Asian Gaming. Rodriguez joined Newport in August 2022, bringing extensive experience from the finance and aviation sectors, including a tenure as SVP Finance and later CFO at Philippine Airlines. Lance Gautreaux, who was the Chief Casino Officer, has been promoted to COO. Gautreaux became part of the Newport team in September of the previous year after 17 years with Las Vegas Sands, during which he worked in Macau, Singapore, and Las Vegas.

Rodriguez and Gautreaux’s promotions occurred simultaneously with the departures of Sian, Dagtas, and Than on Saturday. While the news of these simultaneous exits was unexpected for many, Newport clarified that Mr. Sian’s retirement had been in the works for several years. His retirement plans were postponed due to the pandemic and the year-long transition period following AGI’s acquisition of Genting Hong Kong’s interests.

A Pivotal Moment

AGI’s leadership, under the guidance of Dr. Andrew Tan, one of the Philippines’ wealthiest individuals, and his son Kevin Tan, CEO of AGI, oversees the strategic direction and overall management of Newport. Kevin Tan’s role ensures continuity and strategic alignment for Newport’s future operations and growth.

This leadership overhaul marks a pivotal moment for Newport World Resorts. The transition period under the new CEO and COO is expected to bring fresh perspectives and strategies to navigate the post-pandemic landscape and further establish Newport’s position in the competitive hospitality and gaming market. As Newport moves forward under its new leadership, stakeholders and industry observers will be keenly watching how these changes influence the resort’s operations and market performance.

The departure of three key executives on the same day underscores the dynamic nature of corporate leadership and the strategic shifts companies must undertake to remain resilient and competitive in a challenging economic environment. As the hospitality industry continues to recover from the pandemic’s impacts, Newport’s revamped leadership team is tasked with steering the company towards sustained growth and innovation.