The board of directors for the Seneca Gaming Corp. has named Kevin Nephew, an executive with decades of financial leadership experience, to lead the corporation as president and CEO. His appointment, which followed an extensive search, was officially approved by the board on Thursday.
An enrolled member of the Seneca Nation’s Wolf Clan, Nephew becomes the first Seneca Nation member to lead the corporation in its 18-year history.
“I am incredibly humbled by the board’s confidence in my ability to lead Seneca Gaming Corporation forward,” Nephew said. “I know well the passion and dedication our team members bring to their jobs every day, and how that resonates in the service they provide to our guests. I also know the important role our properties play for our team members, for our community, and for the Seneca Nation. Those perspectives will help guide my leadership in continuing to strengthen our operations and make Seneca Gaming Corporation and our three properties leaders in our industry.”
In his new position, Nephew will oversee the operation and performance of the gaming corporation's three casino properties – Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls; Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo. The facilities collectively employ more than 2,700 workers and attract millions of visitors each year.
Nephew joined the gaming corporation in 2014, most recently serving as vice president of organization improvement and development. In that role, he successfully developed and launched a company-wide Continuous Improvement program, focusing on process improvement and delivering improved customer service and profitability across the organization.
To date, more than 1,000 Seneca Gaming Corporation employees have been trained on Continuous Improvement principles, which have provided savings and efficiencies to the corporation. He previously held the roles of executive director of Continuous Improvement and director of budget and financial analysis.
“We have seen Kevin’s leadership and commitment firsthand over the past six years and we have every confidence in his vision for leading Seneca Gaming Corporation and our three world-class properties,” said Dr. Lori V. Quigley, chairwoman of the Seneca Gaming Corporation Board of Directors. “As an executive and a colleague, Kevin has demonstrated an ability to inspire positive operational and philosophical change throughout the corporation for the benefit of our stakeholders, including our guests, our more than 2,700 team members, and the Seneca Nation. The board looks forward to working collaboratively with Kevin to fulfill our shared goals for Seneca Gaming Corporation.”
Prior to joining Seneca Gaming Corporation, Nephew spent 22 years working in a series of finance positions with New York state, including 15 years as director of financial administration for the New York State Office of Technology, as well as roles with the New York State Department of Tax and Finance and the New York State Division of Budget.
“The Seneca Nation is very proud to see one of our members earn this important opportunity,” said Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. “When we opened the doors at Seneca Niagara nearly two decades ago, it was a milestone moment in our history and a monumental turning point for the future of our people. Not only will Kevin have the opportunity to make a lasting, positive impact on our Seneca economy, he is also setting a positive example for our Nation’s younger generations.”
Nephew is a graduate of Bucknell University and earned a MBA from Columbia University. He holds Kaizen training certification in Continuous Improvement and is currently pursuing Lean Six Sigma Management Certification. In addition, Nephew is an adjunct professor at Medaille College and is a member of the Seneca Nation Investment Board of Directors.
David Sheridan, Seneca Gaming Corporation’s CFO, who has served as Interim CEO since the spring, will resume his CFO duties.
“David did a remarkable job leading the company through the unimaginable circumstances brought on by the global pandemic,” Dr. Quigley said. “The board is grateful to him, and we look forward to David continuing to be a key member of our management team.”