LAS VEGAS, April 16 (UPI) -- MGM Resorts International said Kirk Kerkorian, 93, is reducing his role in the operation of the Las Vegas gambling conglomerate.
Kerkorian, one of the country's richest men, has been assigned the role of director emeritus, which allows him to attend board meetings but not have a vote in board decisions, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
Kerkorian has been investing in Las Vegas since 1955 and was instrumental in building three of its largest hotels, including the MGM Grand, a 5,000-room resort completed in 1993.
He owns 27 percent of the company but has never relished the role of decision maker, preferring to advise executives in private conversations, the newspaper said.
"He is stepping off of a stage he's never really wanted to occupy anyway," said Michael Green, a professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada.
The company said Kerkorian's reduced role had no relationship to any health problems.
He expects to continue to talk to Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren frequently, said Chief Finance Officer Dan D'Arrigo.
MGM runs 15 casinos and has struggled with a debt load of $12 billion, including investment in a $9 billion city project that got under way just as the recession hit.
"Las Vegas is continuing to recover," D'Arrigo said.
"The outlook is continuing to be a positive one," he told the Journal.