Jim Murren: The leader the gaming industry needed By Geoff Freeman, Special to CDC Gaming Reports February 16, 2020 at 12:36 pm It’s one thing to lead a company – it’s a different challenge to lead an industry. Jim Murren leaves a legacy of doing both extremely well. As CEO of the American Gaming Association, I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with Jim. Chairing an industry organization – as Jim did for four years – requires a different set of skills than company leadership. Chairmanship of an industry requires removing your company hat, building trust with your competitors and proving that you are motivated by doing that which is in the industry’s best interests. Jim was uniquely capable of excelling in this arena. He brought a conviction about how the industry needed to mature, a vision for collaboration and a willingness to empower the collective, even when its interests may not have been identical to those of MGM Resorts International. Under Jim’s leadership, the industry became more unified – focusing on what it had in common, rather than that which was divisive. Jim encouraged the industry to become more inclusive, paving the way for tribal organizations to work hand-in-hand with commercial operators in pursuit of common-sense public policy. Jim encouraged the industry to be more aspirational, paving the way for the destruction of the federal ban on sports betting and the multi-billion dollar opportunity that has unfolded. And Jim encouraged the industry to remove the stigma and shout its incredible story of job creation, economic opportunity and community support, paving the way for professional sports franchises to embrace Las Vegas and gaming popularity to reach all-time highs. Jim is a champion of diversity, equity for women and fair and respectful treatment for all. His priorities helped to make the industry more professional and sophisticated. Jim Murren was the leader the gaming industry needed, proving that it could work together and achieve more than it ever realized possible. The legacy he leaves goes far beyond MGM Resorts and the imprint he made on the gaming industry is only beginning to come to light. Geoff Freeman is the CEO of the Consumer Brands Association. He was CEO of the American Gaming Association from 2013 to 2018.