Bob Winter, Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE) Chief Executive Officer (CEO),is announcing he will resign from his position effective January 1, 2013. NNGE Chief Financial Officer Derrick Watchman will be named CEO by the NNGE Board of Directors upon Winter’s transition.
Winter, who has served as CEO since May 2007, decided to leave his position as CEO for the NNGE in order to concentrate his efforts on completing the development and opening of the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort. The Board has asked him to remain and work on the due diligence and planning for the Pinta Road Casino & Travel Center as well as other potential developments on behalf of the NNGE.
“I have had the privilege to work for an extraordinary board of directors, as well as with caring and committed Enterprise staff and casino employees during my time with NNGE,” Winter said. “When I was confirmed as CEO in 2007, I advised members of the Council that it was my goal to mentor a Navajo for the CEO position and I wouldn’t resign until I had found the right person. Having worked closely with Derrick during my tenure as CEO, I have total confidence in his ability to lead the NNGE and he is, without a doubt, the right person for the job.”
In June 2012, after three years of casino operations, the NNGE Board of Directors authorized the Enterprise’s first distribution of gaming profits to the Navajo Nation Gaming Distribution Fund. The first distribution to the Navajo Nation was $5 million with future distributions expected to increase over the coming years.
Watchman said, “I learned a great deal from Bob Winter and I am looking forward to applying what I have learned as we continue to grow and strengthen our partnership with the Navajo Nation. Of course, any good organization is only as good as its’ employees and I happen to believe we have the finest and most dedicated employees around. Furthermore, I am very positive about NNGE’s future and I am especially excited about the opening of our flagship property Twin Arrows – a unique destination that the Navajo Nation can be proud of.”
“Bob successfully promoted NNGE’s mission to develop a Navajo gaming economy. Under his leadership NNGE provided thousands of Navajo people with jobs, competitive wages, and the ability to provide for their families,” said Quincy Natay, NNGE Board Chair. “During Bob’s tenure, he consistently advocated that the Navajo Nation has the talent within to make gaming profitable. Under Bob’s leadership he created a strong management team. In particular, Derrick’s commitment to the success of the Enterprise is evident and we have great confidence that he will continue making a difference in the lives of the Navajo people. We are excited about NNGE’s future with Derrick as our CEO.”
About the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise:
The NNGE is a Navajo Nation-wholly owned business entity created by the Navajo Nation in September 2006. NNGE is authorized by the Navajo Nation to develop and operate Navajo casinos in accordance with federal and Navajo Nation laws, as well as the negotiated Navajo Nation-applicable state compacts (New Mexico and Arizona).
NNGE opened its first Navajo Casino on November 19, 2008 – Fire Rock Navajo Casino in Church Rock Chapter, near Gallup, N.M. The second Navajo Casino opened Oct. 13, 2010 – Flowing Water Navajo Casino in Tsé Daak’áán Chapter, near Shiprock, N.M. The third Navajo Casino – Northern Edge Navajo Casino opened January 16, 2012 in Upper Fruitland, near Farmington, N.M. NNGE plans to open the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort in summer 2013 within the Leupp Chapter near Flagstaff, A.Z.