Foxwoods Resort Casino has named Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Chairman Rodney Butler as its interim CEO.
Previous president and CEO Felix Rappaport was found dead in the Foxwoods suite he called home in June. Foul play is not suspected.
Rappaport, 65, spent more than two decades in the Las Vegas, Nevada hotel and casino industry before moving to Foxwoods in 2014.
He held several positions with MGM Resorts International and Station Casinos.
In fact, Rappaport was previously president and chief operating officer of The Mirage and Treasure Island. Plus, he held various executive positions at New York-New York, Luxor, the MGM Grand, and Excalibur.
He managed hotels in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was an executive with the Hershey Entertainment and Resort Co. before moving to Las Vegas in 1991.
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Remembering Felix Rappaport
Rappaport will be remembered at Foxwoods for spearheading the property’s efforts to diversify by adding various amenities outside of the casino.
In fact, he helped develop Foxwoods Extreme Adventures, featuring a zip line, indoor go-kart track and various thrill rides.
Butler said his death was a significant loss for Foxwoods:
“On behalf of the entire tribal council, Foxwoods’ management team and staff, we extend our deepest sympathies to Felix’s family. With his passing, we have suffered a major loss. Felix’s passion for modernizing and growing Foxwoods, as well as his friendship, mentorship and humor, touched everyone who worked with him. We are confident that Felix’s legacy will live on as we continue to push forward on the vision he set.”
Foxwoods Resort Casino searching for permanent CEO and president
Butler will immediately assume the role of interim CEO pending state approval. In the meantime, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council has begun a recruitment process in an effort to find a new and permanent CEO and president.
That council hopes to complete that process by the fall.
Butler has been on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council since 2004. He became Chairman in 2010. Prior joining the Tribal Council, Butler worked as a financial analyst at Foxwoods.
Butler is also co-chair of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut. He serves on the Board of Trustees for Roger Williams University. Plus, he is a member of the Board of Directors for the Mystic Aquarium.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe owns and operates Foxwoods Resort Casino on its reservation in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
The casino resort opened in 1986. It now features more than 2,200 hotel rooms and a 340,000-square-foot casino. Foxwoods boasts more than 250 table games and 5,500 slot machines. There are two hotel towers and an outlet mall on the property.
Current Foxwoods news
Current issues facing Foxwoods management include the fact that direct competitor MGM International is set to open its $950 million MGM Springfield casino resort on Aug. 24 just 70 miles away.
In response, Foxwoods has partnered with Mohegan Sun Casino in Montville to propose construction of a $300 million satellite casino in East Windsor.
State lawmakers have approved the project, however, it still requires federal approval. Plans are to build the casino just 12 miles south of Springfield.
In the meantime, MGM is also pursuing state approval to build a $675 million casino resort in Bridgeport. However, that project still requires the state to pass legislation allowing it to consider commercial casino proposals for the first time.