Gaming & Hospitality Acquisition Corp.
- Gaming, Hospitality, Technology
James J. Zenni, Jr. — Chairman of the Board of Directors . Mr. Zenni is Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Management Committee of ZCG and is responsible for all portfolio management and business operations. Over the last 24 years, Mr. Zenni has had substantial success investing in private equity, mergers & acquisitions and credit strategies. Mr. Zenni is currently Chairman of the Board of Affinity Gaming, Mrs. Fields Famous Brands, LLC, Pink Taco, Premier Thermal Solutions, LLC., Techniks Holdings, LLC, Twin-Star International, Inc., Waldhaus Flims Alpine Resort & Spa, and XRG Xperience Brands. Mr. Zenni also serves on the boards of Carillon Miami Beach, CTM Holding, Inc., Daily Racing Form Intermediate Holdings, LLC. and Modere, Inc. Mr. Zenni was previously Chairman of the Board of MSDP Group, LLC and a member of the boards of Bayou Steel Corporation, Smarte Carte Corp., and Sun World International, LLC, all of which were portfolio companies. Mr. Zenni has managed numerous private equity transactions including Bayou Steel Corporation, Mrs. Fields Famous Brands, LLC, MSDP Group, LLC, PTC Alliance Corp., Smarte Carte Corporation, Sun World International, Inc., and Thomas Nelson, Inc. Prior to founding ZCG, Mr. Zenni was President, Founder and Co-owner of Black Diamond Capital Mgmt., L.L.C. (“BD”), which he founded in 1995. Mr. Zenni was jointly responsible for all portfolio management and business operations at BD. Mr. Zenni divested his interest in an employee-led buyout which led to the formation of ZCG. Prior to founding BD, Mr. Zenni was a Managing Director and senior member of the Capital Markets Department of Kidder, Peabody & Co. Inc. (“Kidder”). Mr. Zenni had a distinguished career while at Kidder in financial asset engineering, acquisitions, and value-oriented investing. Mr. Zenni holds the patent for an in-house data-management software platform and search engine tool developed by Olympus Fintech, L.L.C. (a ZCG affiliate). Mr. Zenni is a graduate of Xavier University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Economics and was the recipient of the Department of Economics Award. Mr. Zenni also attended Xavier University Graduate School of Business and University of Vienna (Austria) School of Economics and Business Administration. We believe Mr. Zenni’s qualifications to serve on our board of directors include his particular knowledge and expertise in a number of areas, including his significant financial and industry expertise, which we believe provides a sound foundation for understanding strategic and operational issues and challenges. In addition, we believe his prior experience in serving on boards of directors for businesses across a wide range of industries, together with his experience with gaming businesses, will strengthen the Board’s collective knowledge and capabilities.
Mary Elizabeth Higgins — Chief Executive Officer and Director Nominee . Ms. Higgins joined us in March 2020. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Affinity Gaming, a position she has held since April 2019. Over the last 20 years, Ms. Higgins has had success in the gaming sector, focusing on strategic financial management, capital formation, acquisition strategies and investor relations. Before joining Affinity Gaming in 2018 as interim Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, she was instrumental in establishing VICI Properties (NYSE:VICI), a REIT spinoff from Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, Inc. (“CEOC”), serving as Chief Financial Officer in 2017 and as an advisor in 2018. From July 2014 to October 2017, she was the Chief Financial Officer of CEOC, the largest subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment Corporation, where she oversaw finances across 38 casino locations in 14 U.S. states as well as in 5 countries. Earlier in her career, Ms. Higgins served as Chief Financial Officer at companies such as Global Cash Access Holdings, Inc. (now Everi Holdings Inc. (NYSE: EVERI)), Herbst Gaming, Inc. and Camco, Inc. Since December 2018, Ms. Higgins has served as a member of the board of trustees of Chatham Lodging Trust (NYSE: CLDT). Ms. Higgins is a graduate of the University of Southern California where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Ms. Higgins also earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Memphis. We believe Ms. Higgins’ qualifications to serve on our board of directors include her extensive experience in the gaming and hospitality sectors as well as her public company experience.
Eric Fiocco — Chief Operating Officer . Mr. Fiocco joined us in March 2020. He currently serves as the Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer of Affinity Gaming. Mr. Fiocco was hired at Affinity Gaming in November 2018 as Chief Marketing Officer and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in May 2019. Over the last 40 years, Mr. Fiocco has had success in marketing, brand identity, casino operations and revenue management. Prior to joining Affinity Gaming, Mr. Fiocco served as Chief Marketing Officer for Tropicana Entertainment Inc. from November 2011 to September 2018, where he was responsible for all marketing operations across eight Tropicana properties in six jurisdictions and led the development and execution of marketing initiatives and brand strategy. Mr. Fiocco also served as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Tropicana Atlantic City and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Casino Operations at Resorts Atlantic City and Atlantic City Hilton. Mr. Fiocco began his career in the gaming industry as a casino dealer and over the years has been promoted to various positions of increased responsibility in casino operations and marketing at both the property and corporate levels. Mr. Fiocco is a graduate of Stockton State College in Pomona, New Jersey and holds a degree in Business Studies.
Andrei Scrivens — Chief Financial Officer . Mr. Scrivens joined us in March 2020. He currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of Affinity Gaming, a position he has held since May 2019. Mr. Scrivens has substantial experience in operational and value-oriented private equity and mergers and acquisitions. Before joining Affinity Gaming, Mr. Scrivens served as a Managing Director on the private equity investment team with Z Capital Partners, L.L.C. since 2012, while serving on the boards of Daily Racing Form Intermediate Holdings, LLC, WF Swiss Hospitality GmBH, Carillon Hotel, LLC and Affinity Gaming. He focused on investments in gaming and hospitality, leading teams of professionals that specialized in pursuing opportunities that required hands-on financial and operational leadership, including Affinity Gaming. Prior to Z Capital, from 2001-2012, Mr. Scrivens was a Director at Chilmark Partners, a middle market private equity firm and boutique investment bank. During his tenure at Chilmark, among other broader industry assignments, in the leisure sector he advised on the sale of interests in two NHL hockey arenas and valued broadcast contract provisions on behalf of the NFL Players Association. Mr. Scrivens also participated in the investments of International Knife and Saw and Simonds Industries where the two companies were ultimately combined in a merger transaction. Earlier in his career, Mr. Scrivens served as a Senior Manager at the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen LLP in its restructuring group. Mr. Scrivens received his Bachelors of Science from the University of Illinois and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Daniel A. Cassella — Director Nominee . Mr. Cassella is expected to be an independent member of the Board of the Directors of Gaming & Hospitality Acquisition Corp. For over 30 years, Mr. Cassella has provided valuable insight into the highly regulated casino gaming and lodging industries in Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Mr. Cassella has served as an independent gaming consultant since 2000. He is currently serving as an Advisor to the Audit Committee of Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment and is the former Chairman of the Audit Committee and member of the Finance Committee of Tropicana Entertainment, Inc. From 1980 to 2000, Mr. Cassella held numerous executive level positions as Chief Executive Officer and President of Stratosphere Corporation, President and Chief Executive Officer of Resorts International, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Desert Inn, Executive Vice President of the Mirage Casino Resort, and Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino. Mr. Cassella received his Bachelors of Science in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive). We believe Mr. Cassella’s qualifications to serve on our board of directors include his extensive gaming industry experience and public board service.
Richard Glynn — Director Nominee . Richard founded Alinsky Partners in 2009, working with management, financial institutions, and investors to effect transformation. Richard was Chief Executive of FTSE 250 Ladbrokes PLC from 2010 to 2015 and Chairman of Sporting Index from 2008 to 2010, having been Chief Executive since 2001. Prior to that he was Group Managing Director of WCT, and CEO of AIM listed Megalomedia PLC. Richard currently assists private equity sponsors and shareholders with transformation. He is the board chairman of both Dining Club Group and Cruise.co.uk for Bridgepoint Development Capital and Daily Racing Form Intermediate Holdings, LLC for New York-based ZCG, and the founder and Chairman of mental wellbeing platform, 87%. He advises fund managers and sports leagues on rights exploitation and is private coach to “C” level individuals and teams undergoing transformation. Richard graduated from Oxford University in 1986, qualified as a solicitor in 1989 and gained an MBA from The London Business School in 1991. He was awarded the LBS Alumni Entrepreneurship Award in June 2006 and is a qualified business coach. He served as a Special Trustee of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity from 2000 to 2010. We believe Mr. Glynn’s qualifications to serve on our board of directors include his extensive gaming industry experience.
Jan Jones Blackhurst — Director Nominee . Ms. Jones Blackhurst is a long-time political and business leader who spent most of the 1990s as the first woman mayor of Las Vegas, presiding over an unprecedented period of economic, social and cultural expansion. Ms. Jones Blackhurst then joined Caesars Entertainment Corporation in 1999, where she established the first Code of Commitment for the gaming industry. This code served as a model for numerous companies and allowed Caesars Entertainment to gain global recognition for policies governing workplace stakeholder engagement, responsible gaming standards for its customers and standards for interacting with its host communities. In addition, her efforts led to Caesars being internationally recognized for its contribution to equality and equal rights with the company receiving the first ever 100% compliance rating from the Human Rights Commission. After leading the Corporate Social Responsibility and public policy efforts for two decades, she was on Caesars Entertainment’s Board of Directors from October 2019 to July 2020. Ms. Jones Blackhurst serves on several boards as Chairwoman, including the Board of Directors for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Global Fairness Initiative, Nevada Resort Association and Las Vegas Stadium Authority. She was one of the first women to be inducted into the American Gaming Association (AGA) Gaming Hall of Fame in 2014. She is also a member of the Women’s Leadership Board at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Ms. Jones Blackhurst has earned numerous awards and accolades in her career and has been published in articles in a wide range of publications both nationally and internationally. Ms. Jones Blackhurst holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University. We believe Ms. Jones Blackhurst’s qualifications to serve on our board of directors include her extensive experience in the gaming industry.
Thomas A. Lettero — Director Nominee . Mr. Lettero is expected to be an independent member of the Board of Directors of Gaming & Hospitality Acquisition Corp. He has served as the Chief Executive Officer of NexGen Technology LLC, a payments company serving the gaming industry, since November of 2017. For over 30 years, Mr. Lettero has provided valuable management and financial expertise into the highly regulated gaming and hospitality industry in Nevada, Colorado and Pennsylvania. Prior to joining NexGen Technology, Mr. Lettero served as Chief Financial Officer of Cannery Casino Resorts LLC from July 2005 to December 2016 and as a director of the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation from March 2017 to July 2019. Previously, Mr. Lettero held senior executive positions in the gaming and hospitality industry and was involved in numerous financings, financial restructurings and acquisitions. Mr. Lettero is a graduate of Pace University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Accounting and holds a Master’s degree in Accounting and Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. We believe Mr. Lettero’s qualifications to serve on our board of directors include his extensive C-suite and board experience.
Daniel H. Scott — Director Nominee . Mr. Scott is expected to be an independent member of the Board of the Directors of Gaming & Hospitality Acquisition Corp. For over 30 years, Mr. Scott has provided valuable insight into the financial and operational matters of the highly regulated casino gaming and lodging industry. Mr. Scott has served as an independent gaming consultant and strategic advisor since 2001. He is currently serving as an Advisor to the Audit Committee of Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment and is a former member of the board of Tropicana Entertainment, Inc. and Galaxy Gaming, Inc. Mr. Scott served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Gaming Technology from 1998-2001, managing a successful reorganization. From 1995-1998, Mr. Scott served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. From 1983-1995, he served as Vice President and Treasurer of Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino and acted as the Chief Operating Officer of Caesars Palace at Sea casinos on luxury cruise ships operated by Crystal Cruises. Mr. Scott received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, graduating with honors. He is also a Certified Public Accountant and previously served as the President of Nevada’s Society of CPA’s, Las Vegas Chapter. We believe Mr. Scott’s qualifications to serve on our board of directors include his extensive gaming industry experience and public board service.