Las Vegas Sands exec gets a sure deal…

May 16, 2012

There is at least one thing that the powers-that-be at Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) aren’t willing to gamble on — the continued employment of Robert G. Goldstein, an Executive Vice President and the President of its Global Gaming Operations.

Goldstein has been with the company for a long time. His biography in the April, 2012 proxy discloses that he joined Las Vegas Sands in December, 1995, although he worked as the Executive Vice President of Marketing at the Sands Hotel in Atlantic City for three years prior to that.

Along with the 10-Q that the company filed last week, it attached an Exhibit — a letter to Goldstein dated March 1, 2012 — which set out his “Terms of Continued Employment.” Goldstein’s most recent employment agreement was just inked in January of 2011, and it wasn’t set to expire until December 31, 2012. The new letter from March extends the term of his employment to December 31, 2015 and makes a couple of important modifications.

The most significant new term is that the company agreed to give Goldstein 375,000 restricted shares of stock. So long as the executive stays with Las Vegas Sands through the end of 2015, the letter promises that his equity award will vest 20% on December 31, 2013; 20% on December 31, 2014; and the remaining 60% on December 31, 2015. Obviously it’s premature to guess what this award will be worth to Goldstein by the time it fully vests in 3-1/2 years; however, at today’s stock price — even after a month-long slide that hammered the trading price by more than 17% — the award would be worth more than $18.55 million.

The other modification ensures that Goldstein will be flying high in style as he jets to Macao and wherever else he needs to go to keep the Global Gaming Operations division in winning condition. The letter states:

“You shall be entitled to travel First Class on all Company business trips during the Term. In addition, you can utilize aircraft of the Company or of its affiliates to/from Los Angeles or San Francisco in connecting to/from commercial airlines to/from Asia for business.”

This isn’t the first time that Las Vegas Sands has given Goldstein a document that renews the “Terms of His Continued Employment.” In addition to the 2011 letter agreement referred to above, we reported on an earlier extension in 2009. But the new letter agreement raises the stakes: Whereas the 2011 letter gave Goldstein 125,000 shares of restricted stock which will vest at the end of 2012, the new agreement triples that amount but also requires him to stay longer for the shares to vest.

It’s likely that the company wants to keep its seasoned veteran happy enough that he won’t jump ship since there’s so much riding on the prospect of striking it rich in lucrative casino markets such as Macao. (An article last month reported that gamblers in Macao spent $33.5 billion last year; by contrast, those in Las Vegas “only” spent $6 billion.) With so many millions to be gained just by staying put, we’d say that Goldstein’s prospects look pretty good, too.

Image source: Two dice for craps gambling game, via Shutterstock

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