LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Cirque du Soleil has emerged from bankruptcy protection with CEO Daniel Lamarre still in place, and former MGM Resorts chief Jim Murren sharing the lead on the company’s board of directors.
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group had previously reached an agreement with its creditors on the sale of the company, which was among the hardest-hit brands in the COVID-19 pandemic. Cirque’s shows — wildly popular, but very expensive to stage — have become top draws to Las Vegas Strip resorts over the years.
Murren and Gabriel de Alba will co-chair the board.
De Alba is a managing director and partner of The Catalyst Capital Group Inc.
Murren was appointed to lead the Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force early in the pandemic, playing a key role in securing needed personal protective equipment for the state.
His connections, built during years of leadership at MGM, made him especially valuable in the task force role. There has been no indication he is leaving that post.
MGM properties have been home to the biggest Cirque shows — “O” at Bellagio, “Ka” at the MGM Grand, “The Beatles LOVE” at The Mirage, “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay and “Zumanity” at New York New York. Cirque’s first show to play in Las Vegas was “Mystere,” which made its home at Treasure Island — which MGM sold to Phil Ruffin.
Murren was at MGM during that growth, and took over leadership in 2008.
“As a company with global opportunities and the ability to grow quickly, it is critical to Cirque’s successful expansion – and to its customers and partners – that we continuously execute on the right strategies,” Murren said. “I’ve had the great honor of knowing Daniel Lamarre for many years and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to successfully grow this franchise. I very much look forward to working with the Cirque team and fellow directors to take this truly unique organization to the next level and pave the way to capture further growth opportunities.”
Lamarre has been with Cirque since 2001 — eight years after Mystere debuted here.
“I am grateful for the trust our new owners have placed in our management team. I am prepared to contribute, along with the new stakeholders, to build upon the successes of the past, apply discipline to our operations and growth and fulfill our mission to bring Cirque’s extraordinary artistic vision to audiences around the world. Together, we have already begun laying the groundwork for the relaunch of Cirque du Soleil and are excited to enter the next chapter of Cirque’s history,” said Lamarre.
The bankruptcy proceedings took place in both U.S. and Canadian courts.
The Board of Directors will include Lamarre, an MGM representative, and representatives of several financial companies: Steven Justman of Abry Partners, Stephen Ketchum of Soundpoint Capital, George Kliavkoff of MGM Resorts International, Anna Martini of CH Group, Aaron Meyerson of Qualia Legacy Advisors, and Charles “Chip” Rini of CBAM Partners, an Eldridge business.