|By Richard N. Velotta, Las Vegas
SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 19, 2011--A Las Vegas-based executive has gone undercover for a reality television show that will air in January.
Stephen Cloobeck, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas-based timeshare company Diamond Resorts International, will be the subject of CBS' "Undercover Boss" in the program's 2012 season debut. The episode is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Las Vegas time Jan. 15.
Cloobeck also is a prominent player in international tourism as chairman of Brand USA, the public-private company that will market the United States abroad.
He's the second locally based tourism executive to participate in the show, which features a corporate boss donning a disguise and working among front-line workers to discover ways to improve the company and reward exceptional employees. MGM Grand PresidentScott Sibella was featured on the series last year wearing a wig and glasses while working as a dealer, clerk and slot floor representative. Sibella, in an episode that aired in March, bungled a hand when dealing blackjack, spun a ball out of a roulette wheel and failed to sign up slot players for the company's loyalty club program.
On the CBS website, Cloobeck is shown in his disguise with a goatee, glasses, long hair -- it's a wig fromSerge's Wigs of Las Vegas -- and a baseball cap.
"It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot," Cloobeck said of the two-week shoot, which took him to several properties in the Diamond portfolio.
Cloobeck, who hasn't seen the final version of the show that will air, said he was in the midst of important business in the development of Brand USA at the time of the shoot, but he doesn't know whether the tourism marketing effort will get a mention on the show.
The one negative of being the subject of a reality TV show is that Diamond Resorts is getting criticized on the "Undercover Boss" Facebook page over fees, maintenance and sales tactics.
Cloobeck said the problem is between timeshare owners and their homeowner's association and not with the company. The fact that the company has collected 99 percent of its revenues indicates the criticism is coming from a vocal minority among thousands of owners, he said.
He's excited for local residents to see the show.
"Las Vegas is going to be proud when they see it," he said.
(c)2011 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.)
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