|By Kevin Cooper, The Natchez Democrat,
Miss.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 18, 2013--NATCHEZ -- Isle of Capri Casino Natchez changed its top management Thursday with the ouster of vice president and general manager Tony Scudiero.
"We have made a change in management," said Jill Alexander, senior director of corporate communications for Isle of Capri Casinos (Nasdaq: ISLE) based in St. Louis.
Alexander declined to explain the cause for the management change.
"We just decided to go in a different leadership direction," she said.
Thursday's management shake-up occurred as Natchez's second casino, Magnolia Bluffs Casino, that began operation in December, celebrated its official grand opening just up river from the Isle's location at Natchez Under-the-Hill.
For nearly 20 years, the Isle was the only casino in Natchez.
Alexander would not say if the addition of a new casino in the market prompted the management change.
Scudiero became the Isle's general manager in Natchez in 2008. He was the Natchez casino's senior director of operations from 2001 to 2006, when he left Natchez to work at another Isle property in Lula, in the Mississippi Delta.
Scudiero has worked in the gaming industry for more than 25 years. The Natchez casino was his first position as a casino general manager.
"I want people to know that I thank the Isle for everything they did for me," Scudiero wrote in an e-mail. "My almost 12 years with the company were the best."
Scudiero confirmed by e-mail that he was no longer employed as the Isle's Natchez general manager, but that his immediate plans are to stay in Natchez.
"My future plan is to open a restaurant here in town," he wrote. "My wife and I love Natchez and look forward to the future.
"Somebody once said, 'When one door closes, another opens.'"
Isle of Capri Natchez earned a number of honors under Scudiero's watch, including the company's customer service award in 2009. He also led a number of the Isle's local fundraising efforts and community involvement efforts, including raising funds to place a monument at the Watkins Street Cemetery to honor the victims of the Rhythm Club fire in September 2012.
"My team here in Natchez was awesome, and I thank them for all we went through together -- hurricanes, windstorms, floods, power loss, etc.," he wrote.
Pending regulatory approval, Alexander said, Scudiero's replacement will be Richard F. "Dick" Stewart, currently vice president of marketing at the corporate office in St. Louis.
"He has over 40 years of experience in the gaming industry," Alexander said. "He's been with the Isle since 2005."
Prior to joining the Isle of Capri, Stewart worked at a number of casinos in his career, including a stint as the vice president of resort operations and director of marketing at the Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission must approve Stewart to work in Mississippi prior to his officially taking over duties in Natchez.
(c)2013 The Natchez Democrat (Natchez, Miss.)
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