|By Scott Ritter, The Day, New London,
Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Jan. 5, 2007 -MASHANTUCKET -- Foxwoods Resort Casino has brought in a former Caesars Palace marketing executive as it maps out long-term plans for growth both on and off the reservation.
Joseph C. Jimenez, a 28-year gaming and resort veteran, was named senior vice president of casino marketing, Foxwoods President John O'Brien said Thursday. Jimenez, 52, has held marketing and operations posts at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Caesars Atlantic City, the Atlantic City Hilton and elsewhere.
The announcement follows a management reshuffling last fall that included the departure of some key casino executives, a move Foxwoods' owner -- the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation -- said would position the casino for future growth.
Indeed, Jimenez is joining a rapidly expanding gaming empire. A $700 million hotel and casino is rising from the woods next to Foxwoods and is expected to open in early 2008. It will be called MGM Grand at Foxwoods under a far-reaching alliance with MGM Mirage that envisions the gaming giants teaming up to develop casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and other cities.
In an interview, Jimenez said the MGM Grand at Foxwoods "will be the starting point of the reinvention of the physical plant of what today is Foxwoods." Casino executives and tribal officials are developing a master plan that could bring major changes to the resort casino over the next 10 years or so.
Some changes will come sooner as executives look to incorporate existing facilities into the new hotel, casino and performing arts center that are under construction, Jimenez said.
"There will be some things on this side of the building (Foxwoods) that will be unique and different and fresh so that there's not so much disconnect between the two properties," he said. "As you come off that corridor from MGM, it looks seamless. But it will take a while to continue that process throughout the property."
Jimenez said the casino is taking the time to think about its long-term growth strategy and how to market its strengths, like the new Lake of Isles golf courses, the Club Newport private gaming rooms and its Paragon Restaurant in the Grand Pequot Tower Hotel.
"There are pockets of magic on this property," he said.
The MGM alliance also offers substantial marketing benefits. Foxwoods will be able to tap into MGM's database of players and take advantage of the Las Vegas company's association with scores of restaurants, retailers and other businesses, Jimenez said.
"They have an incredible relationship network," he said. "If we're smart, and we learn from them, it will catapult this property to a totally different level. As the company gets involved in other jurisdictions, the image, the advance anticipation of what Foxwoods is and will become, will be the drawing card."
Foxwoods is also leading an investment group that plans to break ground this spring on a riverfront casino in south Philadelphia that has an $823 million price tag, and is partnering with a California tribe to build a $300 million casino in San Diego County.
Jimenez, who attended the University of Illinois School of Business, said he will relocate to southeastern Connecticut with his wife and two daughters.
A Foxwoods spokeswoman said the casino will announce the addition of other new senior executives in coming weeks.
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Copyright (c) 2007, The Day, New London, Conn.
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