CEO Fails: Steve Wynn Teaches Us How Not To ‘Win Friends And Influence People’

Tylie Eaves

It’s no secret that in the world of business, image matters. In fact, for some industries, image is everything. High-end brands focus on the level of luxury that a specific demographic of clientele expects. The assessment of this expectation is based largely on image. This is why many people in the business world are shocked by casino owner Steve Wynn and the most recent among other notorious “Steve Wynn comments.” This time, he has publicized his opinions about poor people, and nobody seems happy about it.

No stranger to controversy in the press, a report by CNN Money announced that Wynn, the owner and CEO of Wynn Resorts, made some recent public comments that may have stigmatized him in certain circles. Last week, Wynn Resorts conducted an investor’s day presentation, and during that presentation, the company CEO announced that wealthy patrons frequenting high-end casinos prefer to spend their time around other wealthy people, as opposed to those less fortunate.

Steve Wynn comments, “Rich people only like being around rich people.”

He continued, “Nobody likes being around poor people, especially poor people.”

In short, Steve Wynn seems to imply that nobody enjoys being around those less fortunate, even the people who could be categorized as “less fortunate.” When reporters reached out to the company for comments about the CEO’s remarks, no one was immediately available to answer questions.

The notoriously outspoken Wynn told listeners that he wanted Wynn Resorts to be exclusive and high-end, like the Louis Vuitton or Chanel of the casino world. Interestingly enough, however, both Coco Chanel and Louis Vuitton arose from humble beginnings as members of the working class.

The two very different industrious individuals, whose names later became two very different and successful brands, did not become synonymous with high-end luxury until many years had passed. Although Biography.com pointed out that Coco Chanel was fascinated with luxury, it’s clear that neither Louis Vuitton nor Coco had an ounce of disdain for working-class citizens, including those of lower income.

You may remember another of the notorious Steve Wynn comments from 2011. Wynn was the businessman who bad-mouthed the Obama administration, saying that the administration is “the greatest wet blanket to business, progress and job creation” of his lifetime. And if that doesn’t ring bells, you may remember him as having a feud with the infamous George Clooney. The Hollywood movie star alleges that Wynn called President Obama an “a**hole.” To date, the controversial CEO denies having made that comment.

The timing of this most recent Steve Wynn comments controversy is interesting, and some may say strategic. Why? Because, at this point, Wynn Resorts has beaten seemingly insurmountable odds to become one of the hottest stocks choices of 2016. In fact, shares of the company’s stock have risen nearly 45 percent. The increase is a surprise to many, considering there is currently an overall sluggishness in Las Vegas. Not to mention, Macau’s economy plummeted by 20 percent in 2015. Wynn Resorts has another casino in the economically-hurting Macau region of China.

As if that wasn’t enough controversy for one article, Wynn has also received a lot of attention from the press because of the battle he and his now ex-wife and former board member Elaine fought over controlling interest in the company. The two traded heated words through a series of press releases and court documents for weeks on end.

The question now is, how will Steve Wynn’s comments impact his company’s expansion plans, and will patronage be affected by his opinions? Will the residence of Sin City and tourists alike be required to provide proof of income and status in order to enjoy Wynn Resort’s future expansion efforts? We want to know what you think. When you’re packing for your next trip to Vegas, will you be including a bank statement and a copy of your most recent pay stub?

[Image via s_bukley/Shuttertock]