STEVE WYNN: Extraordinary Quotes From The Sharpest CEO In The World

Steve Wynn

Photo: AP Images

Few people are as articulate as Steve Wynn. And few CEOs know more about the company they run than Steve Wynn.Which is why the highlight of every earnings season is the Wynn Resorts conference call hosted by none other than Steve Wynn.

What makes him so special is his unparalleled knowledge of both the world at large and the nitty gritty of his company’s operations. We can’t think of any CEO that comes anywhere even close.

He also gives a good rant.

We’ve compiled some of the greatest moments from the legendary Q&As during Wynn Ltd earnings calls.

There are undoubtedly many we’ve missed.

But we are certain there are many more to come.

Wynn has an uncanny memory for details

A Jefferies analyst asked about progress on the Cotai casino project.

Steve Wynn

...I remember studying a chart 2 months ago with my colleagues that showed, for example, if you're interested in this, the high-rise has columns on 36-foot centres and there are 40 of them. There are 40 structural base that are used for suites and rooms. The regular base, 2 rooms, and sometimes 2 structural base were used for super deluxe suites. The building is 98 feet wide. It's extremely deep because the rooms are 45 feet deep with an 8-foot hallway, which is -- you only see 8-foot hallway in buildings. While in Cotai, our typical hallway is 8-foot wide and 7-foot tall. So what happens is that we have 40 columns, 40 structural base and we have 4 of them across the building. There's one on each outside window and 2 on the interior.

Source: Seeking Alpha, Q3 2011 call

Wynn never lets others' short-term expectations affect his long-term strategy

A Deutsche Bank analyst asked about his outlook for an upcoming holiday season.

Steve Wynn

...If the market is soft in December, well, the market will be soft in December. I don't care. My organisation, my colleagues and I, are paid to run hotels in good times and fair times. We're professionals. That's what we do. I don't give a damn about the short-term market implications. This is not a company that gives a damn about short-term markets.

...And I have shareholders that own the vast majority of this company that are long-term investors and they agree with us that the best program is the one that takes the long view. So whatever December is, Las Vegas is going to get treated to a spanking, shiny, new, completely original hotel. And in the long-term it will take it's place here and have more than its market share, just like every other building we've ever built. Whether it's here or downtown or Macau or in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Source: Seeking Alpha, Q1 2008 call

He has never held back when it comes to criticising U.S. leaders

A Nomura analyst asked about the political environment

Steve Wynn

...We have an administration that is fanning the fires that this is somehow undeserved, profligate millionaires, and it is worse than hypocrisy. It is totally dishonest. It represents by young people who don't know the difference, simple misunderstanding and lack of understanding of how the economy works or what's going on in America. But if it's a politician that does it or a union leader, then it represents something much more pernicious. It represents a deliberate misleading of the public. And I think that Americans are waking up to this.

Source: Seeking Alpha, Q3 2011 call

And he doesn't hesitate to call out critics when they're wrong

A Goldman Sachs analyst asked if unfavorable trends in visa issuance and corporate junket policies were affecting business

Steve Wynn

Well, there was an awful lot of publicity about a junket war. And as I remember, some of the sell-side analysts predicted doom and gloom. We had guys in Hong Kong and the press saying that all of our junket operators will leave us.

The status of the journalism associated with gaming is deplorable. I mean we sit around here and just grimace at the ignorance which characterises most of this writing.

Source: Seeking Alpha, Q2 2008 call

But, he shows respect to competitors when respect is due

A Lehman Brothers analyst asked about debt financing.

Steve Wynn

... We don't need to borrow any money if that's what you're thinking. We're in really good shape. Nice feeling. Sometimes I wish I had been a little more courageous like Sheldon. He did a better job than I did. I was more conservative when I was putting the company together and we went public at a quiet time in 2002 and if we had gone public a year or two later we would have gotten 5 or 10 times as much money.

Source: Seeking Alpha, Q1 2008 call

He stands up for gamblers because he understands where they are coming from

A Wells Fargo analyst asked about the health of the Chinese gambler.

Steve Wynn

...My father, my grandfather came to America in the late 1890s along with all the other Europeans through Ellis Island impoverished, seeking a better life, worked for anything they could get and had children around 1915 and 1916 before World War I, and they had nothing. And those children mostly -- Frank Sinatra was born in 1915, my -- and Dean Martin, both of my parents were born in '16 -- none of them graduated high school, I think, to speak of. And they never had a good day. They were too young for World War I. They went off to fight in World War II or work in defence industries. But they came of age in the Great Depression, and that generation of Americans that are the parents of the baby boomers basically hadn't seen a good day in their life until after World War II in 1945. And they came home to bump into the greatest period of expansion in American history. And they worked hard and they were entrepreneurial, and they got a taste of the good life. And they were the first ones in all of their family trees to have anything like disposable income of any size. And what did they want? Cadillacs, diamond rings, mink stoles. They wanted to go to Miami, they wanted to see casinos, they wanted to see Frank Sinatra and Abbott & Costello and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. They wanted the good life because they had heard about it and dreamt about it, and for the first time in life they could find and experience the good life. Casino gambling is colourful and dramatic and theatrical. It was part of the good life. And that generation, my father, my ex-wife's dad, they were all gamblers. They shot crap and bet baseball and football and were rather cavalier about their income for a solid reason: they made it themselves. Money was whatever they thought it was because they created their own wealth or their own income. And if they wanted to dispose of it in a way that other people might think was a little free, too bad because they could always go and make more.

Source: Seeking Alpha, Q1 2012 call

He has a razor-sharp focus on and is committed to his key demographic

An analyst asked if Wynn was seeing the same impacts as competitor MGM.

Steve Wynn

I said that we had not yet observed any significant moment in terms of the impact. Somebody mentioned in the question, I think it was Steve Kent that MGM had said that they saw a softening? Well, you know MGM looks across what 10 casinos or something, their sampling is enormous, and they see every part of the market, we don't. We're dealing with, well,for lack of a better term, rich folks.

Source: Seeking Alpha, Q4 2007 call

And he makes sure that their experience is the top and only priority

A Wintergreen analyst asked how Wynn would grow business in the long run.

Steve Wynn

In answering your question, the best view that we get of the future is through the rear-view mirror, I think. What we know about the destination resort business is clearly established. But it's all about one thing, and one thing only. All of the razzmatazz and jazz we hear about facilities and everything else doesn't amount to a hill of beans. It's customer experience that determines the longevity and endurance of these enterprises.

Source: Seeking Alpha, Q1 2008 Call

And he's not afraid to say that he loves a man

An analyst asked about his relationship with his then friend and partner Okada.

Steve Wynn

Well, first of all, I love Kazuo Okada as much as any man I've ever met in my life. He's my partner and my friend and there's hardly anything I won't do for him. Now, we are not at the present time an investor nor do we contemplate an investment in the Philippines.

Source: Seeking Alpha, Q1 2008 call

Now check out what a Wynn Resort looks like...

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.