The Fontainebleau Las Vegas opened last month, but the resort is already experiencing a shake-up in its executive team with the departure of two top-level executives. The Chief Operating Officer, Colleen Birch, and the Chief Marketing Officer, Shane Smith, have both left their positions at the luxury casino. The company’s representative stated that both Birch and Smith “voluntarily resigned” and wished them well in their future careers. This news comes on the heels of the departure of Michael Clifford, a former Senior Vice President of Casino Operations, who also left the company in the last two weeks.
Colleen Birch had been with the Fontainebleau for over a year, starting as COO in November 2022. Prior to that, she held a senior position at the famous Cosmopolitan. Interestingly, her LinkedIn profile indicates previous experience with Fontainebleau in 2008. On the other hand, Shane Smith joined Fontainebleau in January 2023, after working at the renowned real estate company Witkoff for two years.
The luxury property, worth $3.7 billion, opened on December 13, 2023, after a long and tumultuous history. It all began almost 20 years ago when developer Jeff Soffer bought the original property in Miami Beach. However, the Great Recession caused significant delays and challenges for the project, including a change in ownership several times. In 2021, Soffer repurchased the casino with new partners, Koch Industries, and Clifford joined the company in February 2022. Both Birch and Smith have declined to comment on their departure from Fontainebleau.
The resort’s executive departures have raised speculation and concern about the stability of its leadership and the impact on its operations and future development plans. The Fontainebleau Las Vegas is an important addition to the iconic North Strip and its success is crucial for the broader Las Vegas tourism industry. The company has not made any announcements regarding the replacements for the vacant executive positions, but the departures come at a critical time for the recently opened luxury casino.