A Message from Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts
In the first half of this year, we faced some very difficult decisions at Wynn Resorts. As I reflect on those decisions and the process by which they were made, a few things have become clear.
Although often portrayed as such, companies are not monolithic entities; they are not machines. They are simply a collection of people, whether large like ours or small. A collection of people all working toward some common goal. In our case, that goal is creating great guest experiences. But working toward a common goal is not enough.
When faced with challenges, especially those we face as I write this letter, it is not some faceless building that decides how a company must respond. It’s the people inside it. It’s Craig Billings, and Marilyn Spiegel, and Brian Gullbrants, Linda Chen and Ian Coughlan, and the 25,000 other people who work in our resorts. It’s also me.
A company’s response to tough challenges will always be easier, faster and better if its people all share a common set of values. In fact, I think we’ve learned this year that sharing a common set of values may be more important than the common goal. Companies shift and sometimes the common goal shifts with it. But the values can’t change; they must be enduring. At Wynn Resorts, our values are enduring. They have been with us since our founding and they guide us today.
When we first faced the COVID crisis in early March, it was our commitment to “care about everyone and everything” that guided us to make good decisions:
- Close our operations in Las Vegas and Boston to help limit community spread of the virus and keep people safe. We suggested to regulators early on that closing was necessary and the only responsible path to making it through the crisis.
- Preserve our Company’s culture by continuing to pay all full- and part-time employees. We are one of the very few companies in America to do this. We invested more than $250 million in our culture by paying employees their wages, tips and benefits throughout the closure. We knew that staying home was hard work and the thought of asking our 15,000 team members in North America to stay home and tell them they are furloughed was simply contrary to our core values.
- “Always strive to be better” by combining our operational excellence with a team of leading medical and public health professionals. That allowed us to develop a Health & Safety program, based on the most effective health safety practices available, that has become the gold standard for our industry.
- Take care of our communities by providing relief to first responders and offering food and protection to those suffering the financial impact of the crisis. We donated more than $3 million in personal protective equipment, food and hygiene supplies to organizations in Las Vegas and Greater Boston.
In short, we invested in our employees, worked for the health and safety of our guests, and took care of our communities. We made things better. Like we always do.
Recently, our country has faced up to another virus of sorts. And although it is just as insidious and dangerous as any disease, it is long-standing and of our own making. It is racism.
As I recently told all our team members: racism has no place in our society. The Wynn family is made up of every race, color, and creed — representing the very best of Las Vegas and Boston. Now is a time for us to stand united, come together, and work for change.
I believe that every individual must personally reflect on whether or not they are part of the problem, and what they must do to be part of the solution. As a collection of people, we will do the same at Wynn Resorts. We are going to take a hard look at ourselves to ensure we are not unconsciously part of the problem. And we will consider what proactive steps we will take to be part of the solution to end racism and inequality.
It is important work and we will be guided in it by our values. As a result, we will work to make things better.
Like we always do.
Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Wynn Resorts Board of Directors