In 1998, 38-year-old Gary Loveman completely satisfied with his job as an untenured associate professor at Harvard Business School. He was a popular teacher with standing room only classes in the service management. He and his family lived comfortably in Massachusetts and had successful consulting engagements and training assignments with companies such as Harrah’s Entertainment. His prospects for tenure review, in the next one to two years, looked good. Then his life dramatica … Read more »

In 1998, 38-year-old Gary Loveman completely satisfied with his job as an untenured associate professor at Harvard Business School. He was a popular teacher with standing room only classes in the service management. He and his family lived comfortably in Massachusetts and had successful consulting engagements and training assignments with companies such as Harrah’s Entertainment. His prospects for tenure review, in the next one to two years, looked good. Then his life changed dramatically when the then CEO of Harrah’s, Phil Satre, offered him a job as chief operating officer (COO) of the company. Commute from his home in Massachusetts, Loveman took the job and never turned back. But Loveman setting caused some internal and external rumble. Loveman no one ever managed apart from his assistant and several assistants, he was now to manage 15 casinos with more than 10,000 hotel rooms and more than 35,000 employees. The company has also closed one of the largest acquisitions to date, Showboat. In addition, the gaming industry was not, in 1998, a common destination for MBA graduates, let alone students – it was an industry of insiders who had spent their careers in the gaming, dominated their way from bottom to top. The tasks facing Loveman joined Harrah daunting as it were. He had to somehow gain the credibility and respect within the Harrah and in industry. He had to lead by Harrah’s transition to a more focused marketing company and help the company break out of a financial performance plateau. And he had a series of relationships and a power base to achieve potentially, if the position of CEO Satre joined to build in five years. What could he do to achieve all this?
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Victoria Chang
Jeffrey Pfeffer
Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business
19 pages.
Release Date: 4 November 2003. Prod #: OB45-PDF-ENG
Gary Loveman and Harrah’s Entertainment HBR case solution