LAS VEGAS — Under fire by some black leaders, MGM Mirage Inc. reported Monday that it is putting more minorities in management and employing more minority vendors and contractors as part of its diversity efforts.
The largest operator of Las Vegas Strip hotel-casinos acknowledged criticism of its minority business practices when MGM Grand announced its $6.4 billion merger with Mirage Resorts in May 2000. Company officials told state gambling regulators at the time that it would improve after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People criticized the company’s management.
On Monday, company officials issued a progress report that detailed the company’s successes and its unmet goals.
“While more than half of the work force is minority, less than a third of managers and above are minorities,” said Terry Lanni, MGM Mirage chairman, who gave the company’s inaugural diversity report.
“Hispanics clearly have the largest challenge in upward mobility, although each minority group is underrepresented (in management),” he said.
MGM Mirage established the gambling industry’s first “diversity initiative,” Lanni said.
“We recognized the importance of diversity to the success of our business,” he told about 270 minority group and business representatives at a luncheon at MGM Grand hotel-casino.
As examples, Lanni pointed to the company’s recent hiring of a black woman as a senior vice president and the formation of a diversity committee headed by another black woman — MGM Mirage board member Alexis Herman, former Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration.
“But that doesn’t mean we’re going to fire every white male,” he added.
The company’s Clark County resorts spent $445 million on goods and services in 2001. Of that, $24.3 million, or 5.5 percent, was spent with minority and female-owned businesses, Lanni said. “With 28.5 percent of Clark County comprised of minorities, we should be doing one heck of a lot more than 5.5 percent of our total business with women- and minority-owned firms,” he said. “We have got a lot of work to do.”